Oh boy, this is it... the mad dash to the end of the year - how did we get here so fast? Wasn't it just July 4th? Okay, so I've got lists to make, packages to send, presents to buy, lines to stand in, bargains to shop, tree to decorate, house to decorate, other's decorations to envy... And don't forget about spending time with the family! What are you gonna do? It's the holidays!
So how is it that the season of celebration, joy, giving and family gatherings has become the time of the year that is most stressful? Because of the pressure we put on ourselves to have such a magical wonderful time, when things don't always feel that magical.
Visiting the family can be especially tough. As family members, we know each other better than anyone else – foibles, flaws, failures and more. And the hope that maybe this year things will be different turns to anger, distance and resentment when that one button gets pushed and nothing has changed at all. Even in the closest of families – the least dysfunctional – expectations of unity, peace and holiday spirit can be instantly dashed at the moment a family member’s annoying habit poisons our perfect holiday scenario.
Here are the three things you can do this holiday season to hone your family relationship skills and make your holiday gatherings a more positive experience:
1. Limit your exposure: If you know that a certain amount of time spent with a family member gets your blood boiling, then simply plan to spend less time with them. Get in, get out and get on with your life.
2. Practice forgiveness: If you’re carrying any unresolved resentment into a particular situation, you’re planning to have a fight. You’re not going to fix or change this person – especially not during the holiday. So let it go, forgive their past offenses – and suspend your own judgment of them – and see if you can remember what you love about them. Focus on their good attributes. Let’s face it – who among us is perfect?
3. Visualize a great time: Before you spend time with your friends or relatives, take five minutes and visualize yourself driving or flying home from the visit feeling good about it and happy that you spent time with them. Take that peaceful energy into the situation and you will look for ways to create it while you’re there.
We can’t choose our families, but we can choose to accept them for who they are, and allow ourselves to be who we are at the same time. Your holiday is yours to create -- any way you choose. This year choose to be the change you want to see in the family. Be forgiveness, be joy… BE MERRY!
-Be your best!