I have a very large family. We often argue and disagree. We are very verbal and upfront.
This is both a blessing and a curse.
At one point, we invoked an invisible, personal coupon for losing it at a family gathering. You only got one per year but they were 100% redeemed at some point or another.
Since I have become a life coach I have been actively coaching myself and there are several things that really help prevent ruining a holiday.
- That does not belong to you: Acknowledge what behavior you have control over and you don’t. This is not to say that seeking to understand or having empathy for someone is wrong. But there is a line where someone is just spinning out and nothing you will say or do will change their mind or their behavior. What is best in this moment is to walk away. You are not responsible for other people’s happiness nor their negative energy. That belongs to them. Let them keep that.
- Shielding: Shielding is a meditative practice where you imagine a protective barrier around you shielding yourself from other people’s negativity. This is a really hard time of year for some people and they will lash out. This is also a return to your family of origin and therefore the stories and feelings that have still been festering can come to the surface. So when a flare-up happens to either yourself or someone else, seek to understand- but don’t get in the pool with them. If the anger is directed towards you, envisioning yourself with a “protective barrier” is a reminder that we don’t need to react to the energy being brought to us. We do not have to engage. It takes at least two people for conflict to survive. We can conscientiously choose to seek compassion for others and ourselves.
- Seek peace and silence: One of the most overwhelming things about being with family is not having time alone to center and regroup. Go hide in the bathroom, seriously. Give yourself 10 minutes at least to breathe, check in and make sure you aren’t going to slam a bottle of wine because Aunt Candice is regurgitating Fox News highlights. If you’re going to drink a bottle of wine during the holidays let it be a treat and not medication.
- Supplements, Sleep and Stretching: Self-care is even more important during the holidays. Make sure you’re in balance, well rested and taken care of. Stretch in the morning or take a walk. Take charge of your day first things first. Then create your day on your terms.
- You may still get into it with someone: But keep in mind, conflict can bring about resolution. Sometimes when wounds arrive it is an opportunity for your family to heal as one. To deal with something that’s been really tugging at your closeness with your brother or sister or Mom. Remember, everyone suffers and the true meaning of the holidays is not to consume and buy, but to connect and love. Remember what is important: Holidays, like Christmas and other large family gatherings, have the tendency to be filled with what we “should” be doing. You should be: buying the perfect gift, wearing the certain thing, weighing a certain amount, be living in a certain area, be at a different point in your life…etc. We are all different people in different places of our life, drop the comparison. No one is perfect everyone has struggles we don’t see. Focus on what works for you, what your value is and stand in the truth of your authenticity with love. You are enough, right now, where you are, with what you have.
BONUS: Remember who you are.
You are not the same out of control teenager you once were. You are not that insecure middle schooler. You are not who you used to be. Show up in a way that represents your highest and best. Ground into who you are now, outside of the influence of family and your past. Honor all the groundwork you’ve laid, all the hard work you’ve done as a person and a member of your family. Be in contribution to the energy by being radically responsible for your own. Only you can truly determine your worth.