It is interesting that celebrations are expected to be a community or relational event. In fact, I would even argue that it is natural to celebrate with others rather than alone. Celebrating alone barely feels like a celebration at all. And, there is a very good reason for that.
I recently counted twenty-one different functions of the brain that contribute to interactivity and relationships. Keep in mind that this was a non-scientific count done by someone who does not have formal training in neurology. So, I would not recommend that you go around quoting that number. However, my point is that almost the entire brain works together as a system for this essential function of humanity to engage in relationships. Celebrating with others elevates both the celebration and the relationship.
On this weekend, at which we celebrate Independence as a country, gathering together with friends and family is not merely an opportunity to “Oooooh and Aaaahh” explosions in the sky or dribble watermelon down your chin. This is an opportunity to develop two essential tasks of surviving and thriving; celebrating that which is good and the strengthening experience of interdependence (mutual support in relationship).
For those in challenging relationships, a final note of safety for this weekend; fireworks can be dangerous and hurt. Exercise caution by choosing wisely how you will enjoy them. The same is true for relationships. They are supposed to be enjoyable and exciting but if not treated with respect or handled with care, danger can occur. But, with a little forethought and careful planning, you can make it through the holiday feeling good, patriotic, and closer to people than ever before.
Now who wants another hot dog?
by Jeff Plunkett, MAMFT, LPC