How to get along with your family this holiday season.
Why have misery when you can make this the best holiday yet?
Everyone on this planet has at least one person that likes and possibly gets thrills from pushing your buttons. Sometimes, that one or several people are also family members. During the holiday season, you will usually see your family members more than during the normal course of the year. With more face time comes more possible button pushing and more possible hot topics that need to be laid to rest and/or not brought up. Unfortunately, for some of us, laying an issue to rest is not a usual possibility in your family.
Any situation especially holiday gatherings, old problems and hot topic issues should stay out of conversation. The holiday season is for happiness, memories, and time with our loved ones. It’s not time to argue, fuss, and fight. With that in mind, I am going to share with you how to avoid past pitfalls and how to keep yourself happy and mentally healthy throughout the holidays and into the New Year.
- Stay Calm. You are not alone in the fact that you have a button pusher in your life. If this person is family or is going to be around you this holiday season, try and keep your physical distance from them and/or stay away from the topic that tends to stir the pot of emotions. If their is no way of dodging both the person and the topic, keep it short, simple, to the point, and/or commence to walk away from them. The people that push our buttons do so to get a rise or reaction out of us, otherwise they wouldn’t do it in the first place. If you don’t fall for the trap, they will usually stop doing it over time. For the most part, we are unable to walk away and in this case should have a response/comeback ready in the hopper awaiting this specific situation.
When they ask ‘the’ question of you that pushes your buttons, the response should be something like this: “Thank you for asking. I haven’t found my forever guy/marriage quality. I have found a few maybes and I will keep you posted.” OR “That’s sweet of you to ask, no changes yet but you will be the first to know when something changes!” Having a prepared answer helps to take the stress off you, and their is a possibility you won’t ever have to use it. Being prepared is half the battle!
- Stay Reflective. When we are reflective we realize that just because we had an argument or fight with someone doesn’t mean the relationship is lost forever. Remember this situation wouldn’t be affecting you if you didn’t truly care for the person. When we love and care for someone, and they push our buttons and make us angry, we allow them to make us angry and upset because we have true feelings for them. When we reflect on the relationship, we realize that we once had a wonderful/good relationship with this person and it’s possible to have that again.
When you are reflecting, begin by remembering all the things you LIKE about the person instead of focusing on all that you DISLIKE about them. When the reflection is a positive one, you are allowing goodness in and that will allow for a resolution sooner than later. When you offer the preverbal olive branch, it doesn’t make you wrong and them right. You are saying that your relationship means more to you than some petty argument or squabble.
- Stay Sane. Don’t lose sight of reality. Your argument/issue doesn’t change the fact you are family. At the end of the day family is family and your family will always be your family. Humans are notorious for building up issues in the mind, making us crazy, stressed out, and not thinking or acting rationally. Spending just ten minutes a day from now until the day of the event telling yourself, “We are family and they aren’t trying to hurt me and they deep down care,” will reduce your anxiety and stress about seeing them and will ultimately help you to stay grounded and sane.
Plan B: If you have been calm and reflective and you feel in your gut that this family member/person truly wants to pick a fight, then make different arrangements. If this person doesn’t have your best interests at heart and they truly want to hurt you, then it’s time to make plans to not see this particular person. Nobody wants to spend the holiday watching tables getting flipped over, listening to screaming voices, or even worse. If you are sure you can’t be around them, go with your gut instinct and stay away. This doesn’t mean you have to stay away from your entire family, it just means you have to make provisions. Instead of making breakfast with the family when you know this person is going to be there, set it up in advance with your family that you will do late lunch. Remember that all is not lost. Send this person a card over the holidays and try to offer that olive branch and move to forgiveness. A simple act of kindness with no expectations in return can do wonders for them and for you.
Memories not misery is created by not stressing in the mind, by being proactive, and by reminding yourself daily the things you love about the person in question. Before you go to family events, be sure to have your thoughts clear, your answer/reply ready, and after remember to change the subject and move on. If things can’t be rectified at this time, you need to make arrangements to see the rest of the family without this one person. Make arrangements soon so the rest of the family understands and realize that this too will pass.
***It is difficult and almost impossible to start a true fight with someone who is both honest and authentic.
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