By Alecia Rice
Q: I’d like to host a party during the holidays, but I hesitate because I’d like it to be a specific size with a specific ambiance. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’m afraid I will if I don’t invite certain people which then creates a domino effect of invitations. Can I have the party I want? — Ambiance or Bust
A: Dear Ambiance or Bust,
Many hostesses find themselves in this agonizing predicament during the holidays, and it isn’t necessarily easy to navigate. We’re entitled to have parties in whatever way we see fit without feeling codependently obligated for others’ inability to process that fact in mature ways. It takes courage to follow your heart while not taking responsibility for others taking it personally.
I consider social gatherings like recipes. People are like the ingredients. They bring their own flavor of temperament into the mix, which alters the feeling of the gathering. Sometimes we want chocolate cake; other times we want fruitcake. The number of people invited, along with the combined personalities of those people, creates the atmosphere. Sometimes we want an event to be high energy and festive with lots of people. Occasionally, we want it to be more subdued, intimate and conversational. Therefore, we choose the ingredients for the ambiance we wish to create.
We can head off hurt feelings ahead of time by explaining the circumstances to those who may assume they’ll be invited, or we can address it neutrally and compassionately after the event, if asked. It’s our responsibility to discern what’s best under the circumstances. Remember, just because someone has hurt feelings doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily responsible for them.
These situations arise mostly between women not only around gatherings but also around trips and weekends away. Generally, we’re not taught how to process these issues verbally or emotionally. It’s not surprising that many grown women don’t know how to navigate this complicated maze on either end.
Many of us have difficulty saying no or using our voice in delicate circumstances which gets us into sticky situations. As my girlfriend says, “we have to put on our big girl panties and pull them way up high.” This is the perfect scenario to shore ourselves up to stand in our power as conscious women by using our voice to compassionately explain the circumstances while still making the decision we need to make for ourselves. Cheers!
Q: I’ve had a pattern lately of disagreements on social media about things that I post. My page is mine, and I feel that I can post whatever I like. What do you think? — Tired of Arguing
A: Dear Tired of Arguing,
Engaging on social media can sometimes feel like we’re entering into battle. People can get triggered by what we post and vice versa.
Our page is our own. We are entitled to post what we wish, although I hope we do so with conscious forethought. If posts are inflammatory or disrespectfully paint large swaths of people with a negative paintbrush, we may suffer the consequences of reactions to those posts.
Collectively these days, we’re in mental and emotional overload and rarely get a break. Passions run high and we’re often quite divided in perspective which causes many of us to be easily triggered. We must be discerning in what we post and how we choose to respond, lest we get caught up in an unwanted maelstrom of negative responses which drains our energy.
Ultimately, one needs to ask themselves who they publicly want to be and how they wish to represent themselves online which breeds self-awareness. There are no wrong or right answers. This is merely a quest for internal clarification and direction. The answer can serve as a stabilizing mission statement to hold future posts and comments up against to ascertain if we’re actually in alignment with that intention.
Tips for posting: Ask yourself if this post is coming from a highly-charged emotional place? If so, save the post to simmer on, to return to later for further consideration when the charge may have lessened. It’s far too easy to quickly click on a post that has fired us up. When we return to it, we’ll often find that the fire has dimmed.
The internet is forever. Posts will represent our character in important situations decades from now. If we’re coming from an imbalanced place, or if we would be ashamed for our grandmother to read it, then it probably shouldn’t be posted.
These guidelines should keep us in the “safe rather than sorry” mode.
Alecia Rice integrates higher concepts with wisdom to bring forth balance, perspective, and clarity. She’s a personal advisor, speaker and gatherer of women. For perspective on life issues, you’re invited to text questions and comments to 681-321-1109. Discussions continue at Ask Alecia on Facebook.