Behavioral Psychology

Be Mindful Of Your Thoughts Words And Actions This Thanksgiving

By  | 

What happens to a lot of people is that they kind of dread seeing relatives around Thanksgiving, not just because of old resentments and hostilities, but also because even when they had generally positive relationships with these relatives it can be disconcerting to have everyone treat them and relate to them in ways they feel like they’ve outgrown. The gap between how they now see themselves and how their relatives see them can cause tension and conflict.

If these ideas fit for you, do yourself a favor and be mindful of your thoughts, words, and actions this Thanksgiving. Raise your conscious awareness when you feel that unconscious pull to say or do something that isn’t you anymore. From a neuroscientifc point of view, what’s happening is that the social environment is making old, strong neuropathways light up that have been lying dormant for a while. So ask yourself what response will best represent the person you are now and go with that, even when you’re being powerfully reinforced to do something else.

It makes sense to want people to recognize your personality development, but the best thing you can do is be patient and just keep acting how you want to act, not how that old familiar social environment is trying to make you act. People can’t be expected to notice a change right away, it takes time to get used to different patterns of relating and being.

So cut people a break when they try to relate to you in ways you feel like you’ve outgrown, when they say or do things that make you want to almost magically start to play an old role that you’re no longer comfortable with playing. Try to cultivate equanimity and just keep being the person you know you are. At some point they’ll all grow conditioned to it, adjust their perceptions and expectations, and come to accept this version of you as strongly as they once denied it.