Tips to Tolerate Family During Holidays
Set limits. Decide how much time you can realistically spend with your beloved bloodline without resorting to alcohol, prescription meds, or violenceâ€”then stick to that length of time. If you have family relations that are difficult or painful, it may be better to keep the visit brief, ie: cocktails & cruditÃ©s versus sharing a cabin in Tahoe for the week.
Practice self-discipline. Consciously resist emotional reactions to inflammatory or thoughtless remarks from family members. Instead, lock yourself in the bathroom. This gives you time to come up with the searing retort, and the perspective to choose not to use it. Powder your nose, flush, wash hands, and then return with a more mature reaction, such as:. â€œIt may not have been youâ€™re intention, but I found what you said hurtful. Iâ€™d like us to enjoy our time together, so letâ€™s focus on conversation that isnâ€™t sensitive to either of us.â€
Set your heart dial on LOVE. Recalibrate often. Decide to be the place of love in your family. No matter what. As you start to feel judgmental, angry, or feel an urge to dunk your uncleâ€™s head in the punch bowl, ask yourself, â€œWhat kind of inner experience do I want to have? Heartburn? Or intoxication (spiritually speaking). Choosing to stay loving, no matter what, can make the difference between having a pleasant family holiday, or one that gives you hives. And sometimes the most loving thing you can do is removing yourself from the situation. This can also be accomplished without leaving the scene, by relocating to the kids table.
Donâ€™t agitate. Although itâ€™s sometimes tempting to our love of drama to stir the pot a bit, holidays are usually not the best time to launch a group therapy improv session. Keep things light and cordial, shallow even, and press the hold button on diving into meatier topics that require real relationship work. Especially if there is a lot of booze and card carrying NRA members in the picture.
No Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldaâ€™s. Informing family members what they â€œshouldâ€ or â€œshouldnâ€™tâ€ do can provoke colorful, possibly inflamatory reactions. Donâ€™t assume you know whatâ€™s best for the other person (even though you do). Even if your insight can be helpful, â€œshouldingâ€ on people usually creates resentment and resistance, which in turn causes indigestion.
Manage Your Expectations. Better yet, donâ€™t have any. Author and spiritual leader Eckharte Tolle said, â€œAccept the present moment as if you had choosen it.â€ May we all take that pithy little line to every family outing, and apply it no matter what is going on. Another term for this is Radical Acceptance.
Leave the country. If any of my family is reading this, YES, I’m in Argentina right now, but it’s not to flee you, just all the commercialism. I’m just saying, for others, travel to foreign lands during holidays may be useful.
Consult an Expert. If none of these fabulous ideas can allow you to tolerate those who claim to love you, and those you claim to love, then get thee to the forgiveness expert. Here’s the one I love, because within her message is the one thing I know to be true: Forgiveness First. Everything Else Follows.
Suggestions from blog readersâ€¦
Good wine and a lot of patience. Oh, and of course the “two deep breaths before replying” rule is in full affect.
Spend the week prior to that stressful event taking care of yourself first. Don’t go anywhere tired or spend 48 hours preparing for visitors and tire yourself out. Get plenty of rest.
Individual medication, good. Medication in mashed potatoes, better. (That way the vegetarians eat it too.)
Hereâ€™s a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skill I’ve picked up along the way called: “Radical Acceptance.” If you ever find yourself differing in opinion with someone, you basically accept the difference in the moment, with no resistance or argument, no need to be right. Although it sounds impossible, once you get the hang of it, it works.
And she said “but my family doesn’t accept me for who I am”… and he said “perhaps, but are you accepting them as they are?”Â Change roles. Decide itâ€™s everyone else who needs love and acceptance, and give it to them.
The 21 day complaint free challenge…google the website or the book Complaint Free World. I did it the first time 2 years ago…I learned alot and recommend it, even though it’s self help and I find that annoying. Oops. Yes, I’m starting the diet over again.
You could ditch your own family and you spend the time with your girlfriend & her family. Not that I would ever do that… oh but wait…thatâ€™s exactly what Iâ€™m doing.
Adopt the triple â€œFâ€ attitude. FFF=Forced Family Fun. Like it. Like them. Whether you like it or them or not.
Act as though you are watching a movie…you don’t get mad at the movie for how it makes you feel, you enjoy the emotion and then you go home, right? We are all the star players in own story. Enjoy the scene, whether it’s well written or not. Eventually, change your lines and your responses, and youâ€™ll change the script (try musical comedy, they are the most fun).
WHAT OTHER EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FORGIVENESS…