Happy Living,  Relationships

Food, Family and Conflict

The leaves have changed, the temperature has cooled and televised commercials of various adaptations of Christmas morning are frequent; yep the holidays are here. I personally enjoy this time of year because there is warmth in the hearts of the ones you love. Sipping on hot chocolate, watching a Hallmark film while getting cozy with my significant other makes the cold more bearable. Although I enjoy the holiday season there is one thing that is unavoidable..FAMILY!

Let’s face it you have been out of the house for some time and while you love your family meshing with a diverse set of personalities who are in close relation to you can be a challenge. Uncle George is upset his team didn’t win, Aunt Betty is ready to defend her political views and Jimmy is going through that “I HATE MY LIFE” stage in life; and then there is you trying to hold everything together. Not to fret! I have a few tips to help you with those awkward moments.

Here are tips to avoid conflict:

“Get On My Level!”

We all hold ourselves to a specific standard and naturally we expect those same standards out of our friends. Here is a secret.. you CHOSE your friends! It makes sense they live up to your expectations why else would they be your friend? However, your family was involuntary given to you. It’s like that pair of socks Aunt Betty knitted for you that are too small but you wear them every time she comes because you know it will make her happy. You have to love them no matter the circumstance because that is who God chose you to be rooted in.

When it comes to family you need to lower your expectations and accept them for the unconditional people in your life that they are. By lowering your high expectations you won’t be disappointed which will allow you to be more open to receive the love your family has for you.

“Look What You Made Me Do”

Ok Taylor we get it, can we move on now? Sometimes in passionate loving families comes passionate deep hurt and resentment. I get it. When you feel someone took advantage of your vulnerability or worse betrayed your trust the wounds cut deep. It is easy to hold a grudge and constantly remind the other of what they did but it’s exhausting. You really want to keep this energy invested in something that happened years ago?

When it comes to the holidays it is about giving not taking. Why take a wonderful day with loved ones away from the person who hurt you just because you feel like being selfish? Do yourself a favor and be like Elsa LET IT GO! That’s right! Go sing your heart out in the shower and let it go! You will feel so much better and enjoy the time you have with your family. We are not guaranteed to be on this earth forever, or a year from now or even a moment from now so immerse in the present.

“Have you looked in the dictionary? I’m under perfection”

We work so hard for what we have and the accomplishments we achieve bring pride. It is so easy to focus on ourselves especially when we are goal oriented but the holidays are not about ourselves it’s about giving.

When you are talking to a family member focus more on interests rather than position. Don’t boast about your amazing life, get to know your family members. It’s been a year after all and a lot can change. Try asking open- ended questions to allow other family members to speak about themselves. By directing conversation toward others you will not only deepen your relationship with them but may find out you have more in common than you thought.

“Check, Check..To-Do List almost done”

I am a To-Do list maker. Everything you can think of I make a to-do list. Work? Check. Party Planning? Check. Even a 5 step to-do for laundry. I am obsessed. The great thing about these lists is they can work for Don’ts as well; a To-Don’t list. Create a don’t list to avoid touchy subjects. Did Aunt Betty’s cat die? Well you probably shouldn’t talk about the funny cat video you watched on Facebook the other day.

Here are my top DON’TS  during the holidays:

DON’T Talk About Politics. Even if you have the same views; don’t do it.

DON’T Discuss religion. Like politics there are buttons you just shouldn’t push; don’t do it.

DON’T Bring up sensitive subjects. Remember Aunt Betty’s cat; be courteous.

DON’T Share drama. This is not the time to air out your dirty laundry; focus on interests.

DON’T Go overboard on the PDA. Yes you love your bf/gf but be respectful; get cozy after family time.

DON’T BE A D*** It’s the holidays! Time to give not take so check your ego at the door.

The holidays are stressful but enjoyable. It is time to gather with family and friends and celebrate making it through another crazy year and that Betty White is still living; YAY! (knock on wood) It can be hard managing so many personalities but that is why we love our families. Go in with low expectations, let go of any hurt, converse with open-ended questions, follow your don’t list and before you know it you enjoyed a fulfilling quality family holiday.

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