Do you get Christmas letters? If you are a recipient of these epistles, you will know that some of the letters are sweet and to the point-- they tell you a little about what the writers have done or gone through over the course of the year. They are written in the writer's own hand and are solicitous of you-- they are old-fashioned letter format-- easy on the "I's". Some are verbose and full of bragging. How you receive either letter will depend largely on
your 'mental posture'.
If you are a single (unattached, separated/divorced, widowed) individual, a letter from a married 'friend' or acquaintance that goes on and on about the accomplished children in the family, the cute grandkids, the talented and attentive spouse, and the writer's own satisfying and fulfilling life, might be galling-- unless, of course, you have that great "mental posture".
If you are a married person whose partner was just laid off and whose kids are going through the throes of adolescent angst and experimentation, you might also need that particular "mental posture" to get you beyond paragraph two.
The "mental posture" I keep alluding to is nothing more than a combination of kindly detachment, self-confidence, gratitude, and a sense of humour.
The more you are aware of your thoughts-feelings the more you are detached, and the less you identify, the greater the self-knowledge; and it is this self-knowledge that dissolves ignorance and sorrow. In understanding the self, right thinking comes into being. ~J. Krishnamurthi
If you are "triggered" by the odd Christmas letter (and who hasn't been?) you will likely be flooded by feelings like jealousy, injustice, anger, and if you are a discerning soul, fear. Indeed, fear is frequently the base/basic feeling that prevents most of us from moving from disturbance to peaceful detachment and acceptance.
If you feel jealousy, you will need to acquire more love and acceptance in your life. Find a quiet place and think about all of the people you love. Think of all of the people you know love you. Broaden your circle of people you love and wish well to include the letter-writer. Rejoice in their joy. If you are not able to celebrate their good fortune, then work on truly letting go of your bitterness-- you know, let go and let God. This is a good 'quicklist' for anyone who is feeling blinded by jealousy and temporarily unable to feel the goodwill that is their natural 'default':
There are, of course, many other ways to temporarily 'feel better' about the bragging missives. You could get together with your other relatives and do a sharp, brittle, witty take off of the Christmas letter... but when the snide laughter has vaporized, you won't feel particularly positive. You won't have improved your mental posture by deriding someone else.
Check back in with "kindly detachment". Just what does it mean for you?
I feel so very blessed to belong to a team in my business who practices "kindly detachment" in our work. As we learn to understand and accept ourselves, we are better able to understand and accept others. This acceptance is what allows me to throw back my shoulders in the sort self-confident gesture that keeps the blessings pouring in. If you want that kind of experience in your business life, take a look at this video and see if this is maybe where you want to put your energies.