With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, you might expect to spend more time with family. And with certain family members, it might be more time than you’d prefer.
While the holidays are often portrayed in the media as a joyous time lovingly shared with close-knit families, reality can be anything but. There are the obligatory family gatherings with all the usual suspects. They might include The Political Ranter, The Drama Queen (or King), The Gossiper, or Mr. or Mrs. No-Filter.
And when you mix in freely flowing alcoholic beverages to the party… yikes! The 3 tips below can help you successfully sidestep family drama this holiday season.
1. Accept what (or who) you cannot change.
It’s important not to hold difficult family members to the same standards you have. After all, if they acted the way you feel they should, they wouldn’t be “difficult.” Instead, let go of any expectations you have that they will act differently.
2. Change the things you can.
As much as we may want certain family members to be different than they are, they simply won’t change. But fortunately, we can change how we see them. So, instead of focusing on how annoying your brother is when he takes his inevitable jabs at you, think of the qualities you like about him. Likewise, before your next family gathering, set an intention to enjoy the holiday and expect positive family interactions.
3. Don’t Engage.
Every one of us wants and needs to feel heard and appreciated. But not everyone knows how to express themselves in positive ways. If a family member makes a snide remark at you, for example, recognize that lashing back defensively is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
Instead, it often helps to stop, say nothing, and take two or three deep, slow breaths. Once you’ve calmed down, you can offer up a rational response. For instance, one way to neutralize someone’s angry remark is with “I hear you.”
I’m not saying it will be easy. But with focus and practice, it will become a habit. At the same time, focus your energies on family members who love and respect you and want to be with you. Ultimately, with patience, practice, and focus, your holiday family gatherings can become peaceful and relaxing occasions to look forward to.
To learn more about how to improve your family relationships with family mediation or family coaching, contact us or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, sign up to subscribe to our newsletter of weekly blog posts and you’ll never miss a post.