For most of us, the holidays mean an increased amount of time spent with family, trips back home, and maybe tripping over in-laws in your own house.
For some, this is awesome – a beautiful chance to reconnect with the greatest people you have ever known over Christmas lights and impeccable meals.
For others, it means frustration and stress.
Some people fit in naturally with their home. Their parents are warm and encouraging and provide exceptional role models for which you to model your life after. These people don’t usually have a lot of problems.
For others, they have chosen to use their family as more of an anti-role-model, using their family as a point of reference for differentiation, rather than sameness. For this group of people, coming home is a much bigger challenge.
Either way, going home is often a challenge for personal growth. To family, in contrast to the rest of the world, you are a fixed being and a deviation from what you were when you were 9 is a stress point for them – whether they realize it or not. This is why people change so rapidly when they go to college since it represents the first time a person really gets to define themselves on their own terms in our culture.
Family, conversely, may get annoyed with your new whole foods, keto, or vegan diet, because to them you were the slightly overweight child who loved to town on pizza and buffalo wings. They might scoff at your hippy new-age meditation routine you cultivated when you read the science on the difference between those who meditate and who don’t. Of course, when you go to tell them about to exceptional quality of research that backs you up they laugh it off and dismiss you because you are just little Timmy to them, not Timothy the VP of sales at a Fortune 500 company.
There’s an old saying that bounces around the coaching world and it goes something like this: When you think you’ve achieved enlightenment, go home for the Holidays.
Here are some tips to shake off the frustration for those of you who are shaking off your last trip home:
I was listening to Pope Francis address a giant crowd of Catholics on Christmas today and I was moved by a lot of what he said.
His eventual point was interesting in that it was very close to the guidance I try to give to my clients. He talked about how we need to accept the gift of Christ so that we could in turn be the gift for others.
This is a Christian way of saying what I have thus far found to be one of the best directives in life: be more so you can give more.
As Francis discussed the idea of Christ coming as a gift for those who didn't “deserve” - he made it abundantly clear that we will receive the gift anyway and as such we should accept it gracefully and move forward in giving ourselves to others. Whatever your religious affiliation, we can all recognize that we are often extremely hard on ourselves to the point where we feel we don't deserve love and grace, let alone feel like we can contribute to the world around us.
That being said, in the personal development space there is no shortage of people obsessed with their own growth. People spend countless hours sculpting their physique, padding their back account, finding that strategic edge in their business, or sharpening their mind with the next best idea.
But for what?
A lot of people who are working on their personal development and growth have big dreams and big goals and that is great.
However, it can become a problem when your dreams are so big that it stresses you out and leads you to inaction - not an uncommon problem.
If big picture thinking is crippling you, then aim lower and focus on small actions you can take today to move you further down the road on your journey.
Your growth will come from your action and not your thinking.
Your life coach.
The Andrew Warner Podcast: