Monday Notes: 3 Ways I Prepared for a Family Visit

A week or so ago, I revealed that there was some anxiety surrounding my upcoming visit with my brother and sister-in-law. For months, and all the way up to the moment we drove to their home, there were three specific things I did to prepare.

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#1: Let go of all grievances! Like many people who have had challenging relationships, I had a list. The list was mainly comprised of interactions with my brother-in-law. They spanned from 1993, when Dwight and I first met through 2015. Everyday leading to the visit, I thought of each act where I felt mistreated. I actually saw the sentence in my mind on a piece of paper, until there was a list. Next, I crumpled up the list and threw it in a fire (in my mind). Because I believe that we’re all energy, I knew that I couldn’t possibly go into their space with a twenty-five-year-old list of everything I was angry about. I couldn’t bring that negative energy with me because it would be disruptive and it would cloud how I engaged. I’d be speaking and functioning from a space of hurt, pain, and suffering, instead of love, which was my ultimate intention.

LOVE_june#2: Love them the way I would anyone else! Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that if I like, love, or care about someone, then I interact differently. For example, if I care about you, then I look you in your eyes, ask you about your well-being, and fully participate in conversation. If I don’t, then one of those actions is missing. For this trip, I knew it was my sister-in-law’s birthday, so I decided to act as I would if I was visiting a friend and it was his or her birthday. Dwight had already planned to buy a bottle of wine, but I also suggested bringing enough gourmet cupcakes for her and her family of six. We’d also chosen a beautiful card to accompany her gifts.

 #3: Visualize positive interactions! Law of attraction and creative visualization have undergirded the last two decades of my life. If you’re not familiar, at the base of these teachings is the idea that emotion and images create the life you want or the life you have. As I mentioned before, I intended to bring love to the situation; accessing that emotion was no problem; however, visualizing it in their space was challenging sometimes. I imagined myself ringing their doorbell and both of them opening the door. I created an image and a dialogue where I was very excited to see them.

I’d planned to say, “Heeey Happy Birthday!”

She would then say, “Thank you so much.”

Then, I would hand her the box of cupcakes and she would be very appreciative.

I’m sure there’s some scientific name for this, but visualizing positive interactions was hard to do because my brain kept reminding me of the old story. It goes like this: even if they knew it was my birthday, they would probably never bring me a gift. Then, my brain reminded me of something on the list: one year my brother-in-law convinced his father that my birthday was two days later, which was hurtful. When that happened, I reverted back to strategy number one, removed the act from the list again, and continued visualizing. I imagined holding an in-depth conversation with my oldest nephew, and even though I didn’t really know my younger nieces and nephew, I saw us laughing and playing games.

These three things worked for me, and as promised, I will update you on the actual visit tomorrow.

Written for Debbie’s blog and #ForgivingFridays.

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36 thoughts on “Monday Notes: 3 Ways I Prepared for a Family Visit

  1. Kathy!!!! What incredible ways to prepare for your visit with your brother and sister-in-law. I really acknowledge you for letting go of the past and coming present to the loving — and consciously choosing the love (even when your mind wanted you to do otherwise). I am honored and blessed that you contributed this for #ForgivingFridays.

    Excellent tips for anyone with a challenge with a family member. ❤

    Looking forward to hearing how the visit went!
    Love you,
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I learnt about NLP at a work training session years ago. Decided to google after commenting and Prof Wiki calls it a pseudo science which is now largely discredited. What you have done in visualising a new interaction though made me think of bilateral stimulation (remember i raved to you about it?) which can help in removing traumas and negative associations we have with some memories…e.g. how thinking back on your past relationship with these people makes you feel in the present and hence affect the present day interactions.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean, but I’ve also tried to drop that term “bigger person.” I mean, we’re all just floating around bumping into each other trying to figure it out lol I appreciate your comment though.

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  2. I have to say (and I know it’s not in my position) but your brother and sister-in-law don’t sound nice. I hope they’ve gone through the immense growth you have and they appreciate and learn from your positivity 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you. To be fair, I wasn’t always nice either and I’ve learned that people sometimes mirror what you’ve given them. I’ve also learned that I can only change me…period. Sooo, I do hope that they saw/see a different version of my self. If they don’t, I’m good ❤

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