Stop Your Internal "Grinch" This Season
By Catherine McKay, MS
If you are a human being, you have likely experienced your fair share of “Grinches” blocking the path of cheer. Yes, the “Grinch” may show up as a complaining family member, a pessimistic coworker, a passive-aggressive boss, road ragers, or the snarky person in a hurry at the check-out line of the grocery store, but today, I’m actually referring to the “Grinchiness” inside of YOU (and me!).
The first step in stopping “The Grinch” is to acknowledge his presence. Can you feel it...the tightness in your chest, your heart racing, that feeling of heaviness inside? There may be a stiffness in your muscles, tiny butterflies in your stomach, or a “too hot holiday sweater” feeling. Now how about those emotions? Is there fear? Anger? Maybe some tinges of sadness or loss? What about guilt or shame? You can actually use the body sensations to help “find the feelings” if that part is hard. For example, I know that emotions of sadness usually give me an uneasy feeling that starts in my stomach and my chest, so when those body parts are involved, I have a sneaky suspicion I’m feeling sad. Try not to tell yourself, “No--I don’t feel that way!” just because you find some emotions you wish you didn’t have. Emotions are like the color wheel--we need all of them for diversity and depth.
Once you have “felt your feels,” you’re one step ahead of the game because “the Grinch” can’t hide anymore....he’s been exposed! Now we can take the next step of asking: What’s leading to his heart feeling several sizes too small?? Keep an open mind when you ask. He doesn’t like to be judged (does anyone?). The “Grinch” feeds on negative thoughts and beliefs about the world, the future, and ourselves. See if you can figure out what kind of junk food he’s eating.
Once you have some idea why, you might then ask him what he needs to feel better. Once you get past his hard candy outside, you may be surprised at the gooey center.
I once realized that my “Grinch” felt sad when shopping alone. After I listened carefully and patiently, he told me it would help if I remembered all of the people who love me, who I love, and who I am excited to see during the holidays. Wow! I also realized I should probably bring someone with me next time if I could! Your “Grinch may” have a different solution--but you’ll never know unless you ask. Hint: Don’t let him get by with more “Grinchiness.” Be patient and you’ll hear what’s really in there.
1. Acknowledge “The Grinch” is there (don’t let him hide!).
2. Label body sensations, thoughts, and emotions without being “judgy.”
3. Ask “what is feeding him?”
4. Ask him what he needs. If he’s still “Grinch-y,” be patient and listen more.
5. See if you can give him what he needs to feel better. (Roast Beast anyone?)
6. Commit to positivity AND “invite him to the party.” The Grinch can come too, he just needs a bit more attention.
So how about we commit right here and now to help “The Grinch” stop his “Grinchiness” so we can sing holiday songs and eat cookies together? Or maybe your “Grinch” likes hot chicken? You’ll have to ask him to know!