For a lot of people, this time of year means more time spent with family. Some people look forward to this part of the Christmas season. Others…not so much. Regardless where your family time falls on the crazy/stressful spectrum, I’m sure we can all agree that not everyone at our family gatherings is just like us. I know it sounds incredibly obvious, but is important to remind ourselves regularly (and especially at this time of year) that not everyone else thinks like us, processes information like us, has the same motivations as we do, or receives joy or energy from the same sources that we do.
If you are a Yellow….
Remember that not everyone functions well at high volume. And I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but brace yourself for this truth: not everyone wants to hear every one of your stories. While a strength of the Yellow personality is being fun and bringing joy and energy to a group, watch for clues that others may need a “break” from you for a while. Don’t tell every story or joke that pops into your head. Ask others how they are doing and what their plans are for the new year. And don’t forget to listen.
If you are a Blue….
Accept that not everything will be perfect and not all holiday celebrations are going to be quiet and solemn. Prepare yourself for noisy gatherings, if that is your reality with your family, and schedule yourself some down time before and after. If you notice flaws in the decor or cooking or other areas, keep your negative thoughts to yourself. Be positive and appreciative to all who help contribute. Try to liven up and participate in games or activities with others, even if just for small periods at a time.
If you are a Red…
Remember that you do not have to be in charge. Accept that the gift opening or buffet style meal may not take place in the most efficient way possible. Be okay with that. If you have a suggestion to make, offer it in a polite and inoffensive manner. Don’t get upset if the group doesn’t always go along with your ideas (even if you know your way would be better). Reds need purpose, so stay focused on why you are gathered with family in the first place.
If you are a Green…
Enjoy. Don’t be too late, because people will want to see you. If you’re family is fairly high on the crazy scale, the Greens are often needed to keep the peace and balance out the high strung/high energy individuals also there. And even if your natural tendency is to procrastinate, don’t! If you wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping it will likely not be a peaceful experience and thereby robbing you of some of your joy. Plan ahead, and then relax and enjoy the party.
(Yes, this is a re-post from last year. It’s all still true.)
I feel so truly blessed to be able to speak to audiences all over the continent on a lot of different topics. I love to talk, and I love to travel, and to be honest it sometimes seems surreal that I get paid to speak in really fun places.
But there is something so different and so special about being asked to speak at a MOPS group. MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) came into my life at a time when I really needed it. I had just moved to Reno in 2001 and found my life as a stay at home mom of two babies who couldn’t talk was not meeting the social needs of my extroverted Red/Yellow personality. But we had just moved I didn’t have any friends yet. MOPS not only changed my life, I think it saved my life…and probably my children’s lives and my marriage too.
Speaking at MOPS groups is one way I can still “give back” to an organization that meant so much to me, even though I’ve “graduated” out and am well beyond the preschool parenting years myself. Yesterday I was asked to share about family traditions, specifically for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
My power point was essentially a “scrapbook” style presentation where I shared photos of our family through the years and shared stories. I hope that I was able to encourage these young moms that having family traditions is important, but that they should choose wisely. It’s okay not to do the same thing every year. And it’s okay to drop traditions that you don’t enjoy or to add something new that you think you will like.
Even though the group I spoke to yesterday was relatively new, and even though it was in a building that I had never been to before, as soon as I walked in I felt like I was Home. MOPS moms are connected through the sounds of crying babies and the chatter of much-needed adult conversation. I’m so glad that speaking at MOPS has stayed one of my traditions.
This time of year seems to bring about a wider variety of emotions than any other week in the year. Memories…good, bad, happy, sad. Family gatherings…cherished, dreaded or somewhere in between. Conversations…with loved ones, other ones, in-laws or out-laws. How can you make the most out of your upcoming interactions with the people in your life? Always be your best YOU.
Remember that everyone has his/her unique blend of the personality types. You cannot change that, but you are responsible for being the best YOU that you can be. Here are a few tips to help guide you through the maze of the upcoming week.
YELLOWS – It’s okay to be focused on fun. Just be sensitive to people who are feeling different emotions. Remember to let other people share their stories, and really listen to what they are saying rather than thinking about the story you are going to tell next.
BLUES – You may prefer smaller groups of people but if you have a big family, don’t pull back to much or too soon. If you feel yourself starting to get overwhelmed, sit with one person for a while and focus on having a good conversation with that individual. And don’t get upset if things don’t go perfectly. Savor the memories being made so you can enjoy them later in the quiet of your own home.
REDS – Relax! It’s okay to have a plan for the activities and events, but don’t get so caught up in your plan that no one wants to participate (or be around you). Focus on people…not tasks and things. Be in the moment.
GREENS – Say “yes” to invitations. Visit with friends and family. If you find yourself worried about a possible conflict arising, remember that your peaceful presence can be a huge blessing in those circumstances.
Think about those around you – and why they are around you. Find ways to be yourself, while showing love and spreading joy. Merry Christmas!