The holidays are right around the corner and for some this can be a source of joy and happiness and for others it can be a period of conflict and sadness. The holidays force families to come together with an overarching goal of harmonious, peaceful celebrations but for some of you it’s downright impossible. You may have unresolved emotions or feelings. There may even be another family member who continues to regurgitate the past. So the question remains, how do you enjoy the holidays when someone else continues to ruin them?
Everyone has that that one toxic and socially inept friend or family member who asks an insulting question, brings up your past mistakes or attacks the one thing that continues to make you insecure. The person who sees you for what you used to be rather than who you are.
Then there’s the family member who needs to be the constant center of attention. The person who ruminates on past, negative experiences, shows up late for dinner and is always looking for a fight. So how do you continue to remain positive during the holiday season when the odds are stacked against you?
You must face the realistic truth that no matter how much you try to control your life there will always be pieces that are uncomfortable. And when it comes to uncomfortableness, you have two choices face it or run away. But if you’re anything like me you’ll choose the first option as you’ll have the life experience to know that running away tends to lead to more running in the future.
So let’s face the holiday’s head on, filled with positivity and minimal unrealistic expectations for how others should act, think and feel. Focus only on what you can control, your reactions and yourself as well as how you allow the opinions of others to change your own beliefs about yourself.
Fill your heart with gratitude for those who bless your life and continue to fill them with joy.
But if you’re still filled with anxiety about what’s to come over the holiday season here are some suggestions to help you get through those uncomfortable moments….
Plan ahead with your whole family about what sensitive topics are not to be discussed.
Set a time limit for how long you will stay at an event. It’s always easier and less stressful if you know that in less than an hour you get to leave and go home and take a bubble bath or practice some other form of self-care.
Let it go and walk away. I know that at some point this can be easier said than done but you must learn to choose your battles and some battles are not meant for you to win.
Don’t repeat the same patterns. If it hasn’t worked before then it’s probably not going to work now.
Don’t expect to keep the same holiday traditions. Of course some of them are beautiful and nostalgic but with time your family has evolved and that may bring sadness from old memories. Just think of this, as your family changes so should your family traditions.
Don’t set unrealistic expectations for how others should be. When you don’t set expectations for others you cannot be disappointed or affected by them.
Get out of your own head. Often times you'll continue to build something up so much that you've already planned for a negative outcome. Stop overthinking and overanalyzing pieces of your life that haven’t even happened yet.
It’s also important to note that just because it’s the holiday season it doesn’t mean that you should ever put yourself in a situation where you will be harmed or victimized. So if you don’t feel safe then please say no. The holidays are not free passes for those who continue to cause you harm.
While the holidays can be delightful, they can also be filled with anxiety and angst for what’s to come. But if you continue to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t or what you’d like to change, you’re guaranteed to have a full heart this holiday season and a beautiful feeling that will last throughout the year.