3 Skills to help you love being with your family for the holidays
Ahhh the Holidays. Nothing like parties, overstimulation, shopping lists, soaring expectations, carb overload, and sugar crashing to help you feel that warm special feeling this time of year.
Add onto all of that, that sometimes, the time spent with family can bring its own kind of stressful feeling.
Whatever your family situation may be, today I’m sharing with you the skills that you need to really love being with your family this holiday season.
- Get really good and getting really Curious
When family is all together, it can be really easy to feel like you are being judged and you may feel justified in feeling hurt.
Curiosity is the cure.
When you approach a family situation with curiosity, you are naturally going to take a step away from all the drama and look at the situation with a clinical eye.
Let’s say that your 3 year old son is running around with his cousins and falls down on the foot of grandma sitting on the couch. She looks over at you in a way that you interpret as being accusing.
So before you get offended by the look, get curious.
Why does grandma sometimes have a hard time being around kids? Maybe she misses the time when it was her kids running around. Maybe she didn’t sleep well last night in a different bed and now she’s really tired. The possibilities are endless.
When you are curious about the other person, you stop making it mean anything about you and open yourself up to seeing this family member in a new, gentle, personal way. It’s really quite beautiful.
- Disentangle your emotions
“I just want my Mom to enjoy the holiday.”
This is one of those sneaky little thoughts that sounds really great and altruistic, but is actually causing us so many problems.
The truth is, we can’t control the way anyone experiences the holidays. We get our emotions all tangled up with our loved one’s emotions and it is a sure fire way to disappointment and resentment. As moms, we are particularly prone to believe that in order to be happy, we need to make sure that everyone else is happy.
I remember one Christmas when my kids were small, waking up early, opening the presents with my kids and making a big breakfast for my family. Before I even got the food on the table, I ran upstairs and had a good old fashioned break down.
Every one of my children had complained about either their presents or the food, or that it was too cold. I had worked so hard and tried to foresee every need and it still wasn’t enough. I was done. I thought I was broken or incapable of doing what everyone else seemed to do effortlessly. It was heartbreaking.
Now I understand that I had my emotions all tangled up with my kids emotions. If they didn’t experience happiness, then I was a failure. This was a huge problem for me.
So I have learned how to disentangle my emotions. My kids can experience Christmas however they want. I can choose to experience however I want. I choose to believe that I am a great mother, however my kids experience Christmas. I show up in a way that I feel great about, and I feel happy.
- Positive and negative balance
All that being said, we are naturally going to experience negative emotions about 50% of the time and positive emotions about 50% of the time. No amount of planning, manipulating, finagling or reprimanding is going to change that.
When we learn to accept the negative rather than push it away, our experience becomes so much more peaceful.
I can go into a family gathering knowing that at some point, my brother is going to make a joke about me and I’ll feel a little hurt. That’s ok. That is what my brother does. I know how to deal with it. And it doesn’t involve eating large amounts of peppermint bark.
I try to see it as the sign of love and closeness that it is likely intended to be, and feel a little hurt. I choose to feel both, and then we move on.
There is always a balance. If we didn’t have the hurt, we wouldn’t treasure the joy. You can’t have one without the other, so decide to feel both.
That is what family gatherings are all about. Accepting the weird, goofy, annoying, fun, awesome and comical experience that is your individual family. All of it. You can do it and it’s going to be great.
Schedule a free, no obligation session with me if you want to talk more about these skills. I can help you see it for you and your family. Just click below to set it up.