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GOIN’ ROGUE—On Thanksgiving

November 20, 2009

No, I’m not promoting Palin’s latest populist turn as a self-promoting author.  I’m goin’ rogue as a psychotherapist, by not dispensing that extra dollop of expected tips about getting along with your dysfunctional family (or in-laws) on Thanksgiving. Go rogue—aim higher than merely surviving a holiday.

It’s not that I haven’t spent time in that boat of advice seekers.  It’s just that I spent about a decade of my young adult life consciously learning better and fairer habits of relating.  As I practiced these new ways, I insisted that others, who loved me, follow suit.   As I learned not to whisper down the lane with complaints, I then refused to be in the middle between people I loved.   As I had complaints, I went directly to the source.  I put myself in the other’s shoes, before asking them to try to see it my way too. I set limits. I shed unrealistic expectations.  I figured out what I owed and what I deserved in each relationship. I became fair-minded by owning up to my own shortcomings and assumptions about love and fairness.  I lost my own moral superiority and need to be “right,” along the way.

I cleaned up my unfinished business with my mother and father, by directly addressing them, rather than simply understanding them, capitulating or distancing myself from them. As a consequence, my family relationships became more loving and closer over time. Because I risked being vulnerable with my own family, I was empowered to be vulnerable in marriage. Because I didn’t need in-laws to “make up” for my parents, we could love each other, without unreasonable expectations.  Later, my husband and I  practiced these truths in relating with our kids. They taught us too.

I celebrate this Thanksgiving–not because I’m so special, or my family or kids are either. I celebrate, because this kind of particular blessing is possible for anyone who puts in the time and effort.  So that’s my Thanksgiving’s Day advice—go rogue—dedicate yourself to healthier and fairer ways of relating. It’s the gift that outlives the holidays.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2010 11:30 am

    jQlaOR Thank you for the material. Do you mind if I posted it in her blog, of course, with reference to your site?

    • March 4, 2010 11:56 am

      Glad you enjoyed the material. Feel free to post…thanks for citing, and would you leave the url so I can read the referenced blog? Thanks, BH

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