Let’s keep it simple: Be true. Be kind. Set boundaries. That’s it.
Be true. Couldn’t be more clear. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Be true to what you want and need. Don’t want eggnog? Say ‘no thank you.’ Stuck in a conversation that makes you want to rip your eyeballs out? Say ‘how about we talk about something else here.’ Let’s end the game where the people around us have to guess what we really want because it’s not what we actually say. Don’t say ‘yes’ if what you’re thinking is ‘no’ and you’re hoping they’ll guess that. It’s not their job to read your mind and it’s not your job to read theirs. You want someone to help you clean up the kitchen? Ask rather than hating them for not knowing that they should. Everything is so much easier when you take people at their word and you say what you mean. If they choose to build passive aggressive resentment, let them and let it go — it’s not on you if you’re true to yourself and accept the truths of others. Just be authentic— honor your truth and their truth, even if they conflict. It’s okay if your truth doesn’t align with theirs.
Be kind. I know you’re kind already but we can’t all be care bears all the time — sometimes setting the intention to be kind going into get togethers makes it easier. Kindness means respecting people’s views even if you disagree and yes, I know that’s hard when you’re talking to somebody who is very clearly wrong (wink, wink). Kindly drop the battle and accept that they don’t see it your way. Hug often — hugs help regulate your nervous system and the nervous system of the people you care about. When you see someone getting grumpy, rather than fight or argue, try to offer kindness — maybe even a hug? Usually that grumpiness is a sign that something is amiss with them and it likely has nothing to do with you. A kind gesture goes a long way when someone is struggling. Let the people you care about know that you see them and appreciate them — sprinkle gratitudes and look for gratitudes in everything from the tired ugly sweaters (when will this trend end) to the gifts that you will never use. Kindness begets kindness — if you get that ball rolling, it will pay off for you too. And “be kind” means being kind to yourself as well — don’t beat yourself up or make things harder than they need to be. Take care of yourself too— it’s not selfish. When you’re kind to yourself, it’s easier to be kind to others.
Set boundaries. If your family gets heated when a subject like politics or Scrabble comes up, set a boundary and don’t talk about politics or Scrabble. Easy as that. Boundaries can be applied to all topics of conversation that lead to family fights including controversial relatives— there is no need to have difficult conversations at holiday get togethers. Set boundaries around how much you drink so that you are able to hold your boundaries — there’s nothing worse than that last glass of wine that opens the door to the big blow-out when the rest of the night was lovely. Boundaries are not punishment — they are there to protect you and are incredible self-care. You will show up in a kinder way if you feel safe and comfortable with your family.
Try to keep your side of the street clean with those three simple strategies. Let go of what happens on the other side of the street — you can’t control what other people think or feel. If you are true, kind and set healthy boundaries, you are doing your part, and that’s all you can do.
Wishing you a happy holiday season — and hoping that your unwanted gifts do not include resentment, hate or drama.
Hugs (virtual is not the same so go hug someone you care about),