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A Botched Holiday Vacation: Enacting the Resolution Remedy

By Susan MacKenty Brady
January 9, 2023
blurred crowded airport

A Botched Holiday Vacation: Enacting the Resolution Remedy

We didn’t make the flight. I thought arriving an hour and half before a 7:00am flight two days after Christmas would be fine. We needed double that.

Confronted with a giant mob of people, all trying to make their flight, and at the disorienting hour of 5:00am, we did our best to make it. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. By the time we made it to the counter with our pre-checked bags and were told there was zero guarantee they would arrive with us, we had only 15 minutes to go through what was at least an hour-long security line.

I was proud of my inquiry about alternatives (there were none – at least not on this airline and not for four days.) I was proud of my ability to make a call (nope – we are not going for 5 days with an iffy chance of having our necessities.) I called it. All before 6:45am, and among thousands of other scrambling stressed out travelers.

My Christmas present to my recently widowed 82 year old mother as well as my two daughters – who survived in the last two years the death of a grandparent, the passing of their first beloved family dog and the divorce of their parents – was a week long trip from chilly Boston to warmer Florida to visit dear family friends.

Noticing The Harshness of the Inner Critic 

My shock about the gravity of the situation at first left no space for my Inner Critic to say a word. She knew I could barely process what happened. She needed to wait for Shock, and then Grief, to do their job before she could fully step up to do her job.

As perspective dawned (how could I have guessed the airport would be this mobbed?), my Inner Critic jumped into action with “oh my goodness, how could you think that was enough time to get 4 of you checked in on a holiday week?” And “Oh Susan – what a stupid and avoidable miscalculation.” She went on: “You travel all the time and should know better.” She said more… and, I was exhausted. I mumbled out loud – in ear shot of my mother and daughters as we made our way home after learning there were no flights for 4 before the end of the week – how sorry I was and how it was all my fault.

They leapt to action and retorted with “how could you have known?!” And “it isn’t your fault at all!” But my Inner Critic was sitting in the big corner cozy chair, cross legged and wagging her foot looking over at me with only disgust in her eyes. Her look had these words: “Shame on you. You know better.  How could you have let this happen!”

With what I was sure was the silent and repressed disappointment of my mother and girls hanging in the air, I turned my attention to my dear family friends in Florida, who had long prepared for our arrival given months of discussion. They went out of their way to plan so much (“No – you won’t rent a car! Don’t worry about a thing!”)

My Inner Critic’s repeated refrain persisted: “Susan! You should have left earlier!!!!”

My slump went even slumpier.

Activating The Inner Champion 

And there it was. There she was. My first “should” of the post Christmas week. My Inner Critic was elated to have a worthy job. These days, and because my Inner Well Being Coach / Champion is far louder and more spry, the Inner Critic has less to say most days. But missing flights for a Christmas vacation? Cue the  music – my Inner Critic was already on her way to the middle of the dance floor.

Oh, Inner Well Being Coach / Champion, I know my Inner Critic told you to sit the {BLEEP} down. Please don’t. Do your job! This could be your finest hour!!! Don’t miss your moment!!

The Saving Grace of a Supportive Crew 

And then… I realized the power of reinforcement. For so long – and for sure in my first two books on the topic of coaching and mastering the inner critic – I have focused first on the need to create an inner place of center to return to when you face your own humanity (code for when you make a mistake or catch yourself in the act of being overly harsh with yourself or others.) This, I maintained, is first and foremost an inside job.

Don’t get me wrong. I have advocated over the years (and in previous writings) to create mechanisms of support for when your Inner Critic takes over. Whether it is a wisdom council, personal board of advisors, best friend on speed dial, positive mantras, gratitude reframes, or anything that supports your return to compassionate center / Best Self, having support to quiet the Inner Critic is essential.

My reinforcements were essential in this instance. They jump-started my Inner Well-Being Coach like a car battery in the dead of winter. She is still good at her job – she was just momentarily bullied by the Inner Critic.  She needed a little help reclaiming her voice.

My daughters and my mother repeatedly told me it wasn’t my fault – and even got me a card and flowers later in the day. My boyfriend even named one specific airline that has caused so many unexpected problems and offered to send news articles so I could see for myself how I’m not responsible. My best friend and my former husband said they would have allowed for the same amount of time to make the flight as I did – and thus, missed them too. Miracles, I tell you. Miracles of love and support and helpful TLC to counter the powers of my Inner Critic.

Returning to Compassion with Intention

Agh! I was uncomfortable with all of this because it was others I disappointed. I didn’t need to feel better – I needed to make others feel better. Alas, herein is the lesson: Everyone in my orbit saw and had empathy for my best intentions for this entire ordeal.  Their compassion helped me resuscitate my Inner Champion.

My Inner Well-being Coach is back at work like the champion she is. She booked a massage for me and lunch in the city with my daughters. She called the airlines and learned about the possible rebooking options for later dates. She even laughed about it – making light fun of me for being someone who could be counted on to take the lead on family travel.

Given my ability to reframe, my Inner Critic had no choice but to chill out. She is realizing how formidable her opponent is. My Inner Well-being Champ is back at work.

Oh yes, I am ready to return to her guidance as intended.

When your Inner Critic takes over, what is your plan to activate your Inner Well-being Coach / Champion?  If you let her, she stands ready to turn toward you and use all that energy and well-honed skills from showing up for others on YOU!