Dr. Paul Meier shared some great advice today on how to deal with some of the challenges you face during the holidays when it comes to your relationships. Paul Meier, M.D. 888-7 CLINIC www.meierclinics.org Page 1
1. ANNIVERSARY ILLNESSES: MOMENTS OF GRIEF COME TO MOST PEOPLE AT SOME TIMES DURING THE HOLIDAYS, EITHER BECAUSE THEY MISS SOMEBODY OR SOMEONE THEY LOVE MAY HAVE DIED DURING THAT TIME OF YEAR, OR FOR OTHER REASONS AS WELL. You may be very happy on Christmas Day, for example, and then suddenly, out of the blue, experience a wave of sadness or anxiety. That is normal. When it happens, pray that God will show you what you are sad about or afraid to look at, and then have a good cry and pray and perhaps share that brief sadness with a good friend. If you do, it usually goes right away and you can enjoy the rest of the day. If you stuff it and pretend like nothing is wrong, you may be smiling on the outside but feeling somewhat depressed the rest of the day. Grief can be good. Roll with it when it comes to release it. Mark Twain said, “It’s not what you eat that gives you indigestion. It’s what’s eating you!” This is especially true at holiday gatherings.
2. HOLIDAY REGRESSION IS “NORMAL.” People come to therapy at our clinics and make tremendous progress; they become happy, productive, and at peace. Then they go home for the holidays and are shocked that they “regress,” which means to go back to childhood ways of feeling, thinking, interacting, and reacting to parents, siblings and significant others. We all do this to some extent naturally, so being aware of this can help you avoid it or at least keep it in check. If other relatives are “behaving badly,” imagine yourself to be a third person observing the two of you interacting. Stay calm and don’t fall into the trap of unhealthy regression. Rise above it and be the mature one who is a lover and healer rather than a part of the problem.
3. SOLOMON SAID IN PROVERBS 9 THAT IF YOU REBUKE A FOOL (AN IMMATURE PERSON), HE WILL JUST HATE YOU FOR IT, SO DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH HIM. If you do feel like you need to confront someone during the holiday season (but not during a holiday meal in front of others), remember this wise advice from King Solomon. If the person you confront is a reasonable person, Proverbs 9 tells us that the person will love you more for constructive confrontation. But a fool (immature or self-righteous/self-centered person) will hate you if you confront him, so the Bible says not to waste your time confronting fools. I guess if you want to find out if someone is a loving person or a fool, confront him and find out, but beware. How do you handle tactful confrontation? Are you a wise man or a fool yourself? If a fool (immature), then repent and ask God to help you grow up, and get therapy to help you mature. Paul Meier, M.D. 888-7 CLINIC www.meierclinics.org Page 2
4. DON’T USE HOLIDAY DINNERS TO STRAIGHTEN ANYBODY OUT. JUST ENJOY THEM. As a psychiatrist, I sometimes hear my clients telling me they plan to confront an abusive parent or some other significant other during Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner. I beg them not to. There are circumstances where confrontation is necessary and helpful, whether the other person changes or not, to get buried emotions out and bring healing. But holidays are times to be at peace and stay positive. Use other times for confrontations.
5. FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE WHILE ALSO SETTING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE A HABIT OF BEING ABUSIVE. Would you want your own son or daughter or best friend to get abused? Of course not. Well, you are God’s son or daughter and Jesus is your big brother, so God really gets angry if anyone abuses you verbally, physically, sexually, emotionally, or any other way. So treat yourself like you would want your own loved ones treated, because you are a loved one yourself.
6. DON’T OVERSPEND AT THE HOLIDAYS. If you have to buy an expensive gift to win the approval of a friend, then it’s time to look for a new friend.
7. REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THE SEASON. Thanksgiving is a special time to be thankful for all God has blessed you with, even growth from your painful experiences. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, who has been eternally God, but came into the body of a baby when the Holy Spirit enabled Mary to conceive him as a virgin. He grew up, lived a perfect life, and suffered rejection, many afflictions and death on the cross to pay for our sins. He rose from the dead to pay for our sins and give us eternal life with the triune God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), and with each other, for eternity if we accept the gift of Christ on the cross and ask him to pay for our sins. So bathe the holiday season with love and fun—that is what Jesus wants in our lives. But also bathe it with prayer, scripture meditation, and remembrances of the reason for the season.
Listen to Scott's entire conversation with Dr. Meier: segment 1 and segment 2