2001-12-29 / Columnists

The Inner Voice By Marilyn Gelfand

The Inner Voice By Marilyn Gelfand

As the holidays come to a close, and we’ve lived through a lot of exchanges with different people, we may feel happy, or confused or sad based on what our expectations were beforehand. We may have expected more or different from people, and feel our emotions reacting to it. Perhaps we received more from people, and it makes us question ourselves. In the end, the one we have to look at is me. Did I enjoy myself? Did I feel the holidays were celebrated in ways that I like? How much time and energy did I put into making others happy, and is that suitable for me? Can I step back and say, this was the way I wanted the holidays to be from my perspective.

Other people have their own scripts of how things should go and then react according to their own ideas. If possible, communicate with someone from where he or she is coming from. It will mean more to that person. Sometimes trying to point out what I value may seem strange to another. It helps in communicating what you feel if you can link it to another’s values. For example, "Just like you think family is the most important in the world, I believe that my freedom and independence is everything, and each person should respect that for each other." "I know that you bought me such an expensive gift because you believe that the most money spent means the best gift, however, I feel that your time and energy is worth so much more than the price tag, especially now, when money is tight for us."

Most importantly, the motives of our loved ones tell us where the people are coming from. If someone tried, that really does mean so much. A loving motive with an imperfect result may be more significant than a perfect result without much thought. Trying to make a special cake that may be a little crooked, for example, shows more about the time and energy that the person was willing to go through. We each have our own interpretation of how things should be. We can relax, a little, make room for love and how it materializes, even if it’s different than what is expected.

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