Note: {I originally published this podcast episode on November 29, 2020 as Episode 16, I recently published it again (as Episode 36) with the hope that it might be helpful during this holiday season}. Here is the transcript. . . .

Greetings All, Welcome to the podcast “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland.

This is episode #16, it’s entitled, Keep Your Mouth Shut.

Whenever the holidays come around, I always suggest to my students, if they plan to see their family, to keep their mouths shut. I usually follow-up by saying, you’ll thank me on the morning after. Unless you like fighting, drama, conflict, bad feelings, anger, and emotional hangovers, then of course you can disregard what I’m saying. But if you prefer peace, calm, warm feelings, relaxation, and a good sleep, it would be wise to keep your mouth shut.

I mean, why do we engage in heated discussion, argument, and combative debate? Why do we need to have our say? Why do we need to be right? Why do we have to stand our ground so firmly? It’s only family, not world politics. Is it worth it? Doesn’t “choose your battles wisely” apply here? Now, I do realize “family” is complicated. It’s easy to fall back into our old ways when we’re with family, there are so many triggers, so much history, hurt feelings, and many unresolved issues.

But we’re older now, wiser, we’ve come further along emotionally and spiritually, we’ve built an arsenal of coping tools, techniques, strategies, and a great self-awareness and awareness of others. We’ve become great observers of our minds and the behaviors and motives of others. We’ve learned the art of the pause, and we rarely get ruffled now. Yet somehow, and it never seems to fail, no matter how far we believe we’ve come, once we’re with our family, and happy to see them, and grateful for the meal we’re about to share, bam, we get snagged, and so easily. We get drawn into an intense conversation, we turn flustered, bothered, angry, loud, whereas

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