The Difference Maker for Your Thanksgiving Gathering

By Jen Regan | Serving Others

Nov 18

Traditionally, the week leading up to Thanksgiving is filled with messages of thankfulness. It is a great message, but I want to take a little bit different approach this year. I want us to take a look at the people around our Thanksgiving table, really think about them and what makes them tick. Each of us are created with unique gifts and personalities. We all have something very special to contribute to our world. It is easy, at times to get frustrated with others who are not like us. This week, I invite you to look through different lenses with me and try to see the best in everyone. Acknowledge their good traits and contributions.

Thanksgiving: Family gathers for dinner at grandma's house. Little boy.

I am one of seven siblings and my husband, John, is one of four. At this stage of life, our families have grown and continue to grow with great nieces and nephews. Both John and my families are filled with wonderful people who truly want the best for each other. We have a good time when we get together. But when we gather that many people together, with a variety of personalities and life experiences, there can be stress and even conflict. What I challenge each of us to do this year, including myself, is to step back, take a deep breath and try to see the good traits that our loved ones have. See the best.

Here are two things to keep in mind:

  • Everyone has different life experiences. Because of those life experiences, they look at things through a different pair of glasses. A recent example that I encountered was a situation where an individual got in a minor car accident. After the accident the driver played the accident over and over in their mind, trying to figure out how they could have avoided it. There were some individuals that were of the opinion that they did the right thing by not swerving, thinking that swerving could have created more problems. But there was another view that was expressed and that was “absolutely yes, you should have swerved.” But this individual had been in a head on collision years back. Because of their life experience, they had a completely different, and valid, viewpoint that needed to be respected. Remember, all of us come together during the holidays with different life experiences that shape our thoughts and our conversations. Let’s try to remind ourselves of that and think the best of people.
  • Everyone has a different personality. Because of these different personalities, each individual approaches life in a completely different way. I will use John and I as an example. John and my personalities are DRASTICALLY different. (Could you feel the dramatic emphasis there?) John and I look at a problem or challenge in two different ways and want to remedy that problem or challenge with two different approaches. John likes to pounce on the problem, no need to delay, fix it and move on. It is a strength that I have come to appreciate in John. He keeps things moving. I, on the other hand, like to take things slow. I like to think about things, contemplate the different options, then eventually make a decision. Differences in personalities can cause stress and conflict in the midst of our Holiday gathers. Our hope is always that each person, with their unique strengths, would give and take a little bit to make things run smoother. But know, it is within our control to recognize that others are different than we are and that is ok. Yes, there is wisdom in removing ourselves from people who like to push your buttons, but try to see some good in them and their unique personality.

During the Holidays, a bunch of people, who are very different from each other, converge together in one space. I know we all want to have the best Holiday that we can have, therefore let’s do what is within our control to appreciate the people around us and see the good in them.

Here’s to a Wonderful Thanksgiving with the Wonderful People in your lives!

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