Life Coach Tips For Not Just Enduring Family Holiday Celebrations
‘Tis the season of stress. And the stress of being with family is one of the biggest. Many of the expectations are assumed and/or unspoken, as are many traditions. But one disturbing-to-me ‘trend’ over the past several years is a mockery, a distain and even out and out rejection of family gatherings. There is a collection of “Dysfunctional Family” games available. Isn’t this supposed to be a season of love and kindness toward one another?
Life Coach Tips For Not Just Enduring Family Holiday Celebrations:
You Have to? Really?
As much as we believe we 'have to' do things we don't want to do, the reality is, we really don't. You are an adult and get to choose where you go and who to spend time with. NOT attending is always and option. Then, be sure to skip feeling guilty about your decision. If you feel that not showing up at a family gathering has greater consequences than showing up, then decide to show up fully. Are you going in just 'tolerating' the situation or are you going to 'engage' in the situation? If you are showing up to my invitation with an attitude of mere tolerance, then, I would prefer you don't show. No one wants to feel tolerated. If you show up fully and engage, you may be surprised how enjoyable it all is. Just decide.
Awake, Aware and Grateful
Advice I’ve given to my clients over and over again is this; Congratulations, you’ve noticed your discomfort and your family members’ quirks and irritants. This is a sign you are awake and aware. Yay! Now, balance the negative with the positive. What is there to appreciate or be grateful for about this (these) people? Gratitude floods us with chemicals that literally make us feel connected to others and to our larger world.
Stay in Your Lane
After awareness and gratitude, stop doing or planning anything to change or fix people or situations. This is difficult advice for sure if you are a person who takes on the responsibility of making everything ‘nice.’ In order to reduce your stress and save your sanity, you must allow everyone and everything to be exactly as they are. Take care of yourself and allow others to take care of themselves. If you must, you can happily go back into changing/fixing/helping mode once the big celebration is over.
Now that you’ve congratulated yourself on being aware and you have practiced what acceptance and gratitude feels like, you can do a pre-plan. If your brother/sister/mother (whomever) has consistently been a pain in the you-know since forever, count on them continuing that tradition and plan your reaction. We never can control another’s behaviour or opinion, but we can always choose our reaction. Play out the various scenes you KNOW are going to happen in your head. What are the likely consequences of your various responses? Is this the year you blow everything up? Can you find humour in the situation? Is there some way you can enjoy this time and these people?
Judge Intention vs. Actions
Sit for a while and ponder your intentions going into the family/group, high-pressure, big occasion gathering. What if your intentions are patience, kindness, compassion, curiosity and understanding? How would these affect your actions? What are you assuming about other peoples' intentions? The Stephen Covey quote comes to mind: We judge ourselves for our intentions and others by their actions.
Our attitudes, intentions and actions all influence any situation we attend, in a positive or negative way. The power is literally in us.
We all lose when we diminish, disdain or eliminate anyone or any group. It is in our coming together that we are strengthened. It is in coming together with love, patience and a willingness to understand that we all win.
If we can’t do it in our own families, how can we do it in our communities? How can we do it globally?
Need Help this Holiday Season?