[Comment from Mantic59: I get a lot of email from public relations representatives. Pretty much 99% of it gets deleted but every now and then there’s one that I think is interesting enough to pass along.] The holidays are supposed to be times of peace, joy and good tidings. But for millions of families around the world, it will be anything but a peaceful, relaxing occasion. From bickering relatives, to alcoholic moms and or dads, to siblings that have never let go of years of resentments… The holidays can be quite challenging – far from “The Hallmark card” description of bliss and inner peace.
So what are the patterns that you noticed in your past holidays that don’t seem to work for you? Most of us, if we look deeply enough, will see a repetition over the years of the same issues, the same challenges, the same problems… But we keep going back for more.
Too many times, we will not look at our role in the dysfunction of family holidays. We want to blame everyone else. But, the only common denominator in all of our dysfunctional holiday events is our return to these events expecting that this year something different will happen. It never does, and it never will, until we do something that will change our approach to the holidays ourselves.
Perhaps you might be imagining right now, running through your brain thoughts like “but I can’t do anything about Uncle Bill’s drinking… It’s out of my control that mom enables my dad to be angry and like Scrooge during the holidays. None of these things are in my control at all. So what’s my role?”
Number one best-selling author, counselor, life coach and radio host David Essel has helped hundreds of individuals to learn how to deal in a different way with family members that may not represent what the holidays are all about.
Below are 4 brief essential keys to help you deal with difficult family members during the holiday season.
- The first problem with many holidays, when we return home wherever home might be, is that we have unrealistic expectations of how this year might be different than the past. We have to stay in reality. No matter how all optimistic you might be – if family members have not done the work to heal their past, you’re probably going to walk into the same environment this year, as you have in the past.
- Don’t stay in the house with everyone else! One of the biggest challenges we face is that we don’t want to offend people, so we stay in the insanity where everyone else is staying. Get a hotel room! I don’t care if you have to stretch your budget, it will be one of the smartest things you’ll ever do. Then you can leave when you want to leave, arrive when you want to arrive, and skip all the chaos and drama that has happened in the past. You have an escape route. This is one of the smartest moves you could probably make this holiday season.
- So many arguments escalate because we have a desire to be right, and we can’t let someone else be right, we have to set people straight. Whether you’re talking about politics, religion, or why the economy is so good or so bad… If someone at your event has a different opinion allow them to have a different opinion. There’s no need to go to battle as you have in the past, over conversations that in reality mean nothing. Bite your tongue!
- Forgive yourself, and forgive others now. This is one of the most challenging things that people face. Forgiveness is powerful. It’s free spirit. It releases anxiety, resentment, anger, guilt, and shame. Forgiveness, as an action step, it’s an essential key to being able to live a healthy, productive and passionate life.
David Essel, M. S., Counselor, author, life coach, is a number one best-selling author, counselor, master life coach, and international speaker whose mission is to positively affect 1 million people or more every day, regardless of their current circumstances. David’s work is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer, chicken soup for the soul’s Mark Victor Hansen, as well as many other celebrities and radio and television networks from around the United States of America. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy says, “David Essel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement”