Take A Holiday Risk

Dr. Robin Dilley is an author, psychologist, and speaker. She can contacted through www.psychotherapyunlimited.com

RHN Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions presented in the article are that of the author and not necessarily the opinions of RHN. RHN chooses to publish articles and share individual sites to evoke discussion and show all options, ideas and beliefs.

Holidays can be painful and they certainly can be tense and exhausting, however, that may be because we remember the painful events of the past and do not take the risk to create new memories.  Positive living requires change and change requires risk.  Risk comes with a cost.  Risk requires doing something different and doing something that might actually fail.  If Risk did not have the anxiety-fear component then it would not be Risk.  Risk is the chance we take when we decide that what we are doing is no longer working for us and that we must make a change or stay in perpetual unhappiness.  Perpetual unhappiness is a choice.  It is our choice. Yes, we all have unhappy moments, days, events, and times in our life.  Perpetual unhappiness is a choice.  It is a deliberate choice to do nothing different.  I know I can hear some protesting going on right now, “But Dr. Dilley, I did do something different and it didn’t work?”

“Really, and then what happened?” I ask.

“Then I still felt miserable and unhappy!”

Then I say something like, “Do you realize that when a professional basketball player plays for big bucks that he or she still miss shots, lose games, and in the end of the basketball season, 29 teams lose and only one team wins?”  I also ask the following questions.

“Do you know that winning teams change strategy all of the time?”

“Do you know that losing teams usually do not change their pattern enough?”

That is why coaches are fired.  Coaches are usually fired for not changing what is not working.

Now, there we have the problem.  See, you are only one person but inside of yourself, there are many complex parts, emotions, and feelings.  We all have parts that love to sabotage us. We all have parts that pout, stay angry and unforgiving.  We all have parts that are afraid to take that three point shot.  However, it is hard to fire ourselves.  Maybe it would be a better idea to take responsibility for all of our parts and begin make changes, change the strategy, change the plays, do something different UNTIL perpetual unhappiness gets up and leaves.

Yes, we can be victims to this Holiday Season and whine about how much money we don’t have to spend on gifts, cry about who we miss,  and complain about those around us or we can get our team off of the bench and give them a winning strategy.  Get out there and do something different.

Once upon a time, when I was a young therapist learning Carl Whitaker’s approach to family systems (which is basically do something different and while you are at it make it absurd and fun) I had a client who was married to a very controlling husband, but he was not violent or abusive.  My client felt controlled and did not see any way to empower herself.  I am telling you that the husband was not violent nor abusive, because this little exercise would not be suggested if domestic violence was a possibility.  Therefore, I had my client slightly unscrew the tops of the salt and peppershakers.  When the spouse became irritated about the fact the tops kept falling off, she was to suggest that it might be a good idea to check the tops of the shakers before he started seasoning his meals.  Do you know the spouse started checking the shakers every night and some nights they were tight and other nights they were unscrewed?  This became his daily ritual at the dinner table and she was able to see that she could affect change within the system.  Out of this experience, my client became aware that she was not as powerless as she assumed she was and as a result  began to change from being perpetually unhappy  to being more in control of her life.  Her perception changed as to how much control he really had over her and she began to take baby steps to do things different that really mattered to her.     No one can control you;  if you are feeling controlled then there is a part of you choosing to stay perpetually unhappy rather to effect change within the system.   It is up to you.

Now, what kind of Christmas are you going to have?  The choice is yours.   Your mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, or children do have the power to choose for you or to make you miserable this Christmas.  Ok, maybe you can’t control the whole situation but what is one small thing that you can do for yourself that will help your day be Merry and Bright?  Now, do it!




Elana Clark-Faler
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