• Debbie Covino, PhD

Bad Thought: I’m not looking forward to the holidays because my brother is not very nurturing.

A recent client--let’s call her Julie--is not looking forward to seeing her brother--let’s call him Todd--for the holidays. It seems that Todd is emotionally unavailable, and Julie often finds herself wishing that Todd were more interested in Julie’s life. Julie’s best friend has a very caring and attentive brother, which makes Julie feel all the more the absence of a loving sibling in her own life. Julie would especially like to be able to tell Todd about challenges she’s currently facing and get some moral support and perhaps advice. Julie has tried many times over many years to get Todd to become more nurturing, but to no avail.

Todd, Julie says, likes to make jokes about nearly everything and everybody. His jokes are not mean-spirited, and Julie finds them quite funny most of the time. In fact, she has a lot of good childhood memories of spending time with Todd poking fun at the absurdities of life and enjoying a good belly laugh. For me, the solution to Julie’s melancholy around her brother was easy to see: let go of wishing Todd were different, and get back to appreciating the part of Todd’s personality that she does like. Focusing on what she doesn’t have made it impossible for Julie to benefit from what she does have: an entertaining brother who’s happy to connect with her over humor.

I asked Julie to share with me some of the funny conclusions about life she and Todd had drawn over the years, and we were both in stitches before long. Following a hypnosis session in which we deepened and integrated Julie’s appreciation for her brother’s comedy, she left my office enthusiastic about soon seeing Todd, and saying to herself, I can’t wait to see my brother; he’s a riot!

This holiday season, experiment with overlooking one of your relative’s apparent shortcomings, and interact instead with the part of that person you love.

Happy holidays, everyone!

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis audio program and the All Day Hypnosis audio courses, available at https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/digital-audio-programs

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