It’s that time of year that brings the best out of family members – Holiday Season. Many of us find this time of year particularly stressful. We are forced to be around those that we choose not to be year round. And perhaps that’s the real problem. We avoid talking with one another all year which means we forgo the opportunity for meaningful experiences with one another and thus the chance at reconciliation. The family holidays become miserable.
Instead, we wait. We wait for that turkey to show his face once more and maybe we even hope for the best. But everything is just as it was last year. There may have been time between the prior holiday, but there wasn’t quantity of interactions, new experiences and conversation to change the outcome.
When searching for a fitting photo, I found it interesting that ‘turkeys fighting’ also appear as turkeys embracing one another. Isn’t that often how it feels? “I love you, but I am SO MAD at you right now!!” We DO love our families, but when we maintain a cool relationship throughout the year, the same feelings we had last Thanksgiving creep up again this year.
So without much further ado, here are a few tips to mentally prepare you for the holidays.
1. Prior to seeing family, focus on which aspects about them you are grateful for! Yes! The point of the holiday – gratitude! What good memories do you have with them? What makes this person great (even if it isn’t currently shown to you)?
2. Remember that it isn’t about you. Don’t take it personally. The way someone treats us is always about them. We are all responsible for our choices and how we respond and react to others. How someone responds to us is about them. Further reading: The Four Agreements. This book will change your life.
3. If the environment is particularly toxic, determine upfront how long you will attend the gathering. 2 hours? 3? Stay for dinner and bounce? Come up with a plan up front so you are in control of you, so you aren’t subject to another’s timeline.
4. If celebrating with beer, wine or liquor, this isn’t the time to have that conversation where you tell someone how they’ve hurt you, why they annoy you, what they could do differently. Wait until after the holidays.
5. When someone says or does something that stings you, keep smiling, politely leave the conversation and talk to someone that values you. Which leads me to #6.
6. Focus on those that treat you with respect rather than trying to prove your value to those who don’t see it. Create great experiences with those that love you!
Finally, if you are in an environment where everyone treats you poorly, sit this one out. Have a Friendsgiving. There is nothing more powerful than treating yourself the way you deserve to show others what respecting you means. Actions speak louder than words. Do it politely, of course. And if you need some inspiration, Elisa, from the Verge of Greatness Project, shared her story (and results) with us here.
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