Holiday time emphasizes all that we have and all that we lack. It is a time of love and sharing. We solidify relationships, self reflect, and put effort and energy into beauty and joy.
Most focus on happiness and good cheer and, while everyone understands that the holiday spirit is dampened when we miss significant loved ones, too many fail to recognize the agony associated with other important, heart wrenching aspects of the season.
One example of silent suffering surfaces during the writing of guest lists. The question, “Should I invite my aunt?” may be followed by, “But my mom hates her” OR “I can’t wait to see her, but that will upset my dad!”
Another example of silent suffering surfaces when we receive an unwanted or ‘loaded’ invitation. For example, take this scenario: “We received the invitation from the Blah blahs, but I really don’t like the husband. Do we have to accept?”
Extending & receiving invitations represent two examples of hidden energy sucking distractions that often complicate the spirit of celebration.
Mixed Messages Surrounding the Invitation
Home is where the heart feels safe. We naturally want to be where our mind, body and spirit feel peaceful, comfortable and relaxed. The unstated messages carried within an invitation range from “Do you feel safe with me?” to “I really don’t feel safe with you, but I’m compelled for another reason to extend this invitation.”
Thoughts surrounding acceptance range from, “Oh I can’t wait to catch up and see how they have been doing!” to “How much effort do I really want to put into being around these people?” or “How can I get out of this gracefully?” both paired with the thoughts about our level of comfort with respect to being honest about our feelings.
This might begin to address why accepting, rejecting and extending invitations may be so terribly complex for so many. ‘Social obligation’ is a powerful force and often imposes discomfort on those who prefer not to reveal lack of desire, lack of trust, and/or discomfort with the other party.
In reality, questions, comments and statements are open for interpretation. If the receiver is confused, clarification is sought – that is, if the receiver cares enough to ask. Failure to ask a question suggests any or all of the following on the part of the confused person:
- Doesn’t want to reveal confusion
- Doesn’t trust any answer that might be offered
- Lacks interest in the answer
- Hopes that lack of clarity will be able to be drawn upon later in an effort to avoid accepting responsibility for whatever the communication was
Redefinition of boundaries might be in order. If relationship goals are mutual, discussion includes honest, truthful clarification of expectations. When this is achieved, the positive energy bond grows stronger between the two who engage in this type of communication. Without clarification and open discussion, future invitations will likely be carefully examined before they are extended or accepted. (See Part 2 for additional thoughts on this topic)