No two ways about it, the holidays are stressful.
Families aren’t always one big happy. People who have experienced a profound loss may simply want the whole wretched season to be over. There’s too much food and too little exercise. Too many end-of-the-year pressures exacerbated by putting on a happy face.
It can leave you speaking before you think…ugh!
So before you say something you’ll regret, take a moment to pause and ask “What’s the REASON in this season?”
No, not the reason for the season, the reason in the season.
R-E-A-S-O-N, which stands for Rational, Empathetic, Argumentative, Significant, Objective, and Needed.
This holiday season, try to use R-E-A-S-O-N to maintain a sense of connection and focus during any conversation.
Ask yourself if you’re being rational and objective or responding purely out of emotion. When I notice I’m tipping the scale toward an emotional reaction, it’s time to take a step back — a step toward more rational thought. Because emotions aren’t tools of cognition. Emotions can shine a light on the things I value at a particular time, but only objectivity allows me to look at both sides of an issue and make a thoughtful decision.
When I’m around people who have very different beliefs from the ones I hold, I try to keep empathy — understanding or imagining feelings you aren’t actually having — at the top of my conscious thoughts.
The more empathy I have for other people, the more likely I am to understand where they’re at, how they came to be there, and why. And the better all our conversations are going to go — whether those conversations are about politics, religion, or what kind of dressing to put on the cole slaw.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes the better angels of my nature are AWOL…or at the very least on an unannounced vacation. So before I jump feet first into a conversation and lobby for a particular position or idea, I try to take my emotional temperature. Am I feeling calm and at ease, or argumentative and looking to start something?
It happens to the best of us. (Ask me how I know!) But if I’m feeling contrary…well, walking into a conversation when I’m feeling deliberately argumentative means I’m far more likely to pour gas on a fire…and that’s never a good thing.
All too often it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when we’re talking with other people, so ask yourself just how significant this issue really is. Or, as I always asked myself when my son was young, “Is this a hill I want to die on?”
Is this a small disagreement designed to ward off a potentially larger disagreement down the road, or is it something that’s pretty insignificant in the cosmic scheme of things. If it’s not really significant, Let. It. Go.
The word I was really looking for here was kind…but hey, “kind” didn’t fit in this acrostic, so I’m going with obliging.
When what I’m saying isn’t kind, if it doesn’t come from a place of benevolence and generosity and it’s not really necessary (see below!), then the best thing I can do is be obliging…and kind…and keep it to myself.
Now here’s the exception to that rule about being kind: if you see me walking around and I’ve forgotten to zip my pants or I’ve got broccoli between my teeth, then for heaven’s sake let me know. Obliging or not, it’s NEEDED.
Now…good luck keeping the REASON in your season. ?
If you enjoyed this post, I’ve got additional content at Teachable.com with my Savor One Season — The Holidays. Please check it out!