A Fun Idea for New Year’s Eve

Table set for New Year's celebrationNo matter how you’re spending New Year’s Eve this year, whether alone, with a partner, with family or friends, here’s an idea for a fun and meaningful activity that will pay dividends beyond the holidays.

Invite your peeps to get together and create a mini time capsule of ideas, predictions and goals for the coming year, to be opened on or around next year’s New Year’s Eve.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A piece of paper and a writing utensil for each participant
  • A large envelope
  • A camera and a way to print out the photos right away (optional, but fun)
  • Delightful food and drink to make the occasion festive

Here’s what to do…

Give everyone paper and pen/pencil.

Announce:

“We’re making a time capsule to be opened at the end of next year — i.e., 365 days from today. On your piece of paper, write your name clearly at the top [this is important]. Then write down your predictions for the coming year. You can predict events or milestones in your own life, the lives of others present here tonight, or in the world at large. For example, you might write something like, ‘I will enroll in a foreign language course this year,’  or ‘Tina Gilbertson’s book will out-sell  Hillary Clinton’s.”

Everyone then writes for 15 minutes or so, being careful not to share what they’re writing with anyone else. This time capsule is full of secrets!

When everyone’s done, take their paper and put it in the envelope.

Optional: Take a picture of each person and put it in the envelope with their predictions.

Seal the envelope and give it to someone who can be depended upon to keep it safe for a year.

One year later …

Gather together again, open your envelopes and take turns reading your predictions aloud.

I did this twice with friends, once for a 10-year period and once for five. I’ve never done it for just one year, but it should be just as much fun.

Some of the predictions my group made were surprising yet true, such as “At least one of us will have lost a parent,” and “They finally widened the Lions Gate Bridge.”

Others were way off the mark, such as when I predicted my own marriage to a film director — nobody I knew, just “a film director.”  Didn’t happen. (Maybe I should have been more specific?)

The experience of opening the envelope and having everyone read their predictions can be funny, moving, or both.

It’s a wonderful way to connect and reconnect with yourself, your family and/or your friends.

Whatever you do this New Year’s Eve, enjoy the season!

PS. This is my 150th post on Tina’s Tidbits. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my blog followers, for inspiring me to “keep on postin’!”

“I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”

sister and brother problemsIf your mail carrier complains to you about your mailbox being so far from the curb, it’s perfectly appropriate to respond by saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Here’s what that statement really means:

  • “Your feelings are your problem.”
  • “How you feel has nothing to do with me.”
  • “I don’t care.”
  • “You’re on your own.”

If these are what you mean to convey — and really, what more does the mail carrier have any right to expect from you, unless she’s your sister? — , then by all means tell people who have a complaint against you that you’re “sorry they feel that way.”

But if you want to keep your loved ones well-loved, please don’t ever use this line with them, especially when they tell you that you hurt their feelings.

“I’m sorry you feel that way” is not an apology.

When you say this to someone, you don’t get to check the “I apologized” box. Instead, you’ve got to check the box that says, “I gave them a shove toward the door and told them to keep walking.”

If you accidentally said this to someone you truly care about, you might want to call them right now and offer a real apology for shutting them down instead of hearing them out. Tell them you regret the way you handled it when they approached you about that thing…

And hope they don’t respond by telling you they’re “sorry you feel that way.”

If you’ve been on the receiving end of these words, how did it feel?

Have you ever used these words to set a necessary boundary with someone? Like the mail carrier?

How to Break Up for Good

sad womanIt’s pretty normal to get back together with an ex. Heck, it’s almost a national pastime.

If you haven’t felt the pull of an old relationship … well, I think we might have to check your pulse.

Ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends can have a strong magnetic influence, especially immediately after a breakup. No matter how painful the relationship was, it had its good points.

It’s those good points that’ll get you every time.

If you want to make sure your breakup sticks, I’ve got some ideas for you. Let me know what you think of the article at this link:

How to Break Up and Not Go Back | Psychology Today

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Secret Ingredient in Healthy Relationships

couple in kitchenAlice’s husband, Bob, does something that hurts her feelings.

So what does she do?

Alice tells Bob he’s insensitive and inconsiderate.

This hurts Bob’s feelings. So what does he do?

Bob responds by telling Alice she’s too demanding.

An argument ensues, of course.

And it never really gets resolved.

Bob and Alice get into it like this at least once a week. Both are unhappy about it.

Neither one believes the relationship to be healthy, but they’re no sure what to do.

The Foundation: Emotional Literacy

Let’s look at how this could have gone differently, with one key ingredient: emotional literacy.

That’s the ability to know and name emotions, and to distinguish yours from other people’s.

It also entails tolerating emotions instead of acting them out.

This one ingredient makes the whole foundation stronger.

The following isn’t science-fiction:

Alice’s husband, Bob, does something that hurts her feelings.

So what does she do?

Alice tells Bob that what he did hurt her feelings.

She doesn’t say, “You’re inconsiderate.” She says, “I was hurt when you ___.”

Alice is taking ownership of her feelings, instead of resorting to an attack on Bob’s character.

Because he’s not busy defending himself from an attack on his character, Bob has room to notice his own response to Alice’s statement.

Bob feels embarrassed by his behavior, which he now recognizes as inconsiderate.

Bob regrets inadvertently hurting his wife.

So what does he do?

Instead of covering his embarrassment and regret by calling Alice demanding, Bob offers a good, solid apology.

When it’s over, Alice feels understood, valued and appreciated.

At this point, with the tension gone, Bob explains what was going on with him at the time.

Alice now understands why Bob did what he did.

Satisfied that Bob never meant to hurt her, and that he understands and regrets what he did, Alice feels loving and generous.

Not only does she accept Bob’s apology, she tells him what a good husband he is.

Bob and Alice feel connected in the wake of their discussion, and grateful for their relationship.

As Within, So Without

Our relationship to our own feelings is critical. It determines how we respond to the emotions that arise in our relationships with others — theirs as well as ours.

When we can name and accept and tolerate our feelings, we’re not compelled to lash out at others.

Instead, we can make choices intelligently, based on our values.

In the first scenario, Alice wasn’t able to own her feeling of having been hurt. Instead, she was more comfortable pointing the finger at Bob for being “bad.”

And Bob wasn’t able to tolerate his feeling of having been “bad.”

Hence an argument with no resolution.

What needed to be resolved were the emotions on both sides.

And those were not addressed in Alice and Bob’s argument in the first scenario.

In the second scenario, both Alice and Bob used emotional literacy to guide them through the conflict.

They “owned” and tolerated their own emotions, and didn’t allow themselves to be triggered by each other’s emotions.

They were able to work through their feelings together and end up in a good place.

What needed to be resolved were feelings.

It’s always feelings.

Emotional literacy is not optional if we’re to enjoy healthy relationships.

For more on this subject, check out the many audio, video and print interviews at www.TinaGilbertson.com.

As always, please let me know what you think! I’m eager to hear from you.

You Don’t Have to Let It Go

black bag of woeWhen I get mad or sad and someone tells me to “let it go,” I get madder and sadder.

What terrible advice that is. “Let it go.”

Ugh. What does that even mean?

And anyway, it’s impossible.

You can’t let go of what happened. It went down exactly the way it did, so there’s no changing (or “letting go” of) that.

You can’t let go of the feeling you’re left with, either.

The feeling has to “let go” of you first.

I ranted about this (albeit in my quiet way) in this week’s post on Psychology Today:

Why “Letting It Go” Might Not Be Such a Good Idea

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting you go around stamping your feet and letting everyone know you’re ticked off.

I’m just advocating self-compassion. Give yourself the room and the time to process how you feel.

Don’t be in a hurry to get over it by trying to “let it go.”

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When You Feel Empty Inside

Do you feel as if your life lacks meaning or purpose?

Do you sense an inner void?

If you do, you’re not alone.

Click on the following link and try these tips to help you recapture your spirit:

‘I Feel Empty': How to Overcome Feelings of Emptiness

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Talk to Yourself When You’re Upset

cartoon woman with megaphoneHave you been using the T-R-U-T-H Technique for getting past difficult feelings after an upset?

Maybe there was an argument that left you feeling icky.

Maybe someone said or did something that hurt your feelings.

Maybe you hurt someone else’s feelings.

Instead of replaying the event over and over in your head, which just makes you feel worse and gets you stuck in those rotten feelings…

The T-R-U-T-H Technique gives you a way to make your wallowing constructive.

In this week’s post I look more closely at the first “T” of the Technique, which stands for “Tell yourself the situation.”

Sometimes it’s easier said than done.

But you know what? It’s pretty much impossible to get it wrong.

Here’s why…

How NOT to Abandon Yourself | Psychology Today

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net