That's if you're lucky!
In the unwritten American family story -- the story that started with the Mayflower -- Thanksgiving kicks off the eye-rolling season. The grudge parade gets going, and before you know it, assorted old roles and disappointments end up featured in the weekend celebration as prominently as a decorative cornucopia centerpiece.
Whatever the rub (and I don't mean the rosemary and sage herb rub on the turkey's back) I mean the pain on your plate, you need a plan. This season I won't be stuffing the pain, or passing it on a serving platter to others. This season I am going to try something else: Forgiveness.
But what is forgiveness? According to Psych Central,
What forgiveness is not:
Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment. ... Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves.
- Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen.
- Forgiveness is not excusing. (We excuse a person who is not to blame. We forgive because a wrong was committed.)
- Forgiveness is not reconciliation. (We have to make a separate decision about whether to reconcile with the person we are forgiving or whether to maintain our distance.)
In fact, I notice that grudges allow me to hide from the strong feelings of fear and uncertainty that true forgiveness brings. Sort of like ... If I really let this (her/him/it) go, then what? What does that really mean? Who will I blame? How will this redefine me?
I know forgiveness feels better but ... sometimes it is harder ;-)