Whether it's Opinionated Oscar, who disdains anyone with a different viewpoint, Sensitive Samantha, who gets offended by the slightest thing, or Critical Candace, who must point out your recent weight gain, you need an extra dose of patience to navigate the field of party spoilers.
This is the time when our fantasies of family harmony, and the realities of family cacophony, are most compelling. Not every sibling relationship can, or should, be saved, but you'll never know unless you resolve to think about it.
I have figured out the art of visiting my family and having a good time with them. I would like to share what always seems to work. I have given this advice to several friends and colleagues, and they all have come back saying how they had a very good holiday.
Chances are, the holidays are going to include some stress -- especially if you're dealing with illness, grief, or other serious life challenge. However, if you go into them by taking responsibility for what you can control, there's a good chance they will be more joy-filled.
Be happy with what you have instead of allowing your mind to torture you with machinations of things and situations you supposedly don't have. Instead of wasting time imagining what you think your holidays and your life should resemble, be grateful for the way they are.
Ebenezer Scrooge understood one needs to take care of oneself before it's even possible to take care of anyone else. His problem was that he didn't take the step of investing in his own joy, nourishing his body or his soul, and therefore couldn't be bothered to take care of anyone else.
In real life, unless you have a personal event planner or live in the Land of Oz, it's difficult, stressful and maybe even impossible to pull off the perfect holiday. Here are a few ways to calm your nerves and your expectations during the "most wonderful time of the year."
As opposed to a family scapegoat -- an immediate family member at whom we direct unprocessed anxiety or anger -- a "safe-goat" is a person far enough outside our immediate family system at whom we can direct unprocessed anxiety or anger without inflaming conflicts between present members.
You do yoga, drink green tea, and read every self-improvement book that comes out. You have it together, you are evolved, and you've got the whole emotional intelligence thing under control. And then the fourth Thursday of November approaches. Yup, it's time to go home for the holidays.
Causes of vacancy come in endless iterations and are particularly poignant during the holidays. You may be left staring death in the face. Or, perhaps your loss involves a loved one that lives far away and finances are insufficient to bring them to your door.
One potential solution to transforming the holidays from stressful to joyful is the application of identified communication skills that have been researched and shown to facilitate changing difficult relationships.
The holidays come and go every year. Don't stay stuck in a bad emotional drama. The willingness to do it differently will always create the means and ability you need. Trust yourself and have the courage to step free.
For many people the holidays are a joyous time; for others they are a dreaded part of the year. One factor that can make it tough is spending time with difficult relatives. Here are strategies for keeping family dinners pleasant.