The Holidays are coming. A week from today is Thanksgiving. And although it is meant to be a joyful occasion, for many people, it can sadly feel like a dreaded obligation. After all, the world is full of insecure and wounded individuals who just so happen to show up at your parents’ house on the holidays for dinner. Yikes! To make this holiday season even happier, the following are some helpful hints for surviving the not-so-Brady Bunch holiday gatherings
1. Remember that you are not responsible for the insecurities of others, even if they are your family.
2. Know that it is your responsibility to insure that you have a Happy Holiday.
3. Ask yourself, “What would make my holiday happy?” In doing so, you are more likely to choose the people, places and experiences that will offer a more joyful experience.
4. Stand up for yourself if someone criticizes or mistreats you. Do not react defensively. Simply state, “Please do not criticize me” or, ask a clarifying question such as “What do you mean by that?” At the very least, you will give them something to think about.
5. Set yourself up for success. If your family is severely dysfunctional or chaotic, set limits with regard to the time you spend with them. Have dinner at home and visit for dessert.
6. Avoid those who are strongly opinionated (trying to prove how smart they are), negative (fearful), or gossipy/judgmental (putting others down to feel better about themselves).
7. Keep in mind that families are supposed to be loving and supportive. Be a catalyst of change by role-modeling appropriate responses, by praising rather than condemning and by complimenting rather than criticizing. You will not only make it a happier experience for yourself, but for others as well.
8. Let go of expectations. They have not changed, but hopefully you have, and continue to grow in loving and appreciating yourself as a person.
9. Make your holidays, Happy Holidays! Enjoy the experience for what it is and share the love in your heart!