Regular readers of this newsletter are pretty familiar with our concept of the Knower/Judger. It’s the part of you that lives by your embedded rules of life. It knows right from wrong…frequently to the exclusion of outside information. Usually I berate the K/J as the source of a lot of frustration and conflict, but this holiday season I’m letting my K/J off the hook and thanking it for all the good things it brings.
What’s good about the K/J? First, it helps us get through thousands of daily interactions and decisions without actually having to think about and make all those decisions. It’s hard work to stop and make choices all the time. So we internalize what it is we’re supposed to do when such and such happens…and we do it.
We take the same route to work. We vote for the same party. We drink the same coffee. We answer the same questions the same way. We are, for the most part, robots, programmed by the choices we’ve made and the more or less successful outcomes produced by following these paths.
In fact, we actually make very few decisions, especially when you consider that many of the choices we do make, we don’t even think about. When to get up in the morning, what to wear, how to greet people…these decisions are made on autopilot, handled by the K/J. Thank you, K/J! I don’t want to have to think about all those things. I want to save my “choosing” for the important things in life.
Imagine the chaos if we had to make decisions every time one of those red octagonal signs with four white letters presented itself when we were driving. The K/J rule to stop at stop signs keeps us safe. It also has very little risk of running afoul of someone else’s K/J rule or any systematic change in our highway laws. It’s a stable and successful K/J rule.
Look at your K/J rules about what makes a joyful holiday season, most of them based on choices made many years ago.
Fireplaces. Snowy landscapes. Candlelight services. Stockings on mantels. Kids in laps. Smells from the kitchen. Holiday music, either secular or religious. Jingling bells. Santa. Model trains. I’m sure you can add more.
If you don’t believe that you have rules about the holidays, wait till someone in your family brings a significant other into the scene and some new K/J rules are introduced. “You’re making what for Christmas Eve?” K/J rules keep us in our comfort zone, and we don’t like having them challenged, even when they are rules about what brings joy, peace, and love.
I know it will be hard to comprehend, but we can have other, more sinister K/J rules embedded in our holidays. You know the in-law who’s always right and who always makes you feel little? That’s your K/J rule! Or the argument you always get into with your sister? Programmed. Unless you move into your Learner/Researcher and “choose” to change it, it’s gonna happen. And, believe it or not, it places the combatants squarely in their comfort zones because what’s expected happens and all’s right with the world.
So here’s my suggestion for the next month. Keep the truly enjoyable K/J rules and choose to let go of the more irritating ones.
Hug the kids. Cook the double-decker pizza. (Yup, that works in my house!) Watch Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story (or White Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life) three times. And let go of the battle with the in-laws. Maybe drink a little less. If you think about it in advance, you know your K/J responses that don’t help. Just check them at the door.
I’m letting my K/J off the hook this holiday season. It’s not always the villain, and it’s not always trying to keep me programmed in mediocrity. It’s frequently my friend, my stability, and the source of my comfort.
Merry, happy everything to everybody.