It is that time of the year again, Thanksgiving day has cycled back around. This signals the reality that you may have close direct contact with the people you love and the people you love to hate. I decided to write this post for all of the people out there that experience that cringe of anxiety when thinking about all of there Thanksgiving obligations. If you feel this way, it is obvious that your family may not be as supportive as think. Relationships that are transparent, non-judgmental, encouraging and receptive allow us to be free. This freedom allows you to try new things, be creative and take a chance. If you have made a decision to maintain your peace this holiday season you are going to need to be tapped into that inner intuitive spirit that lies at the core of you. As a peace seeker that inner core will push you along the way by helping you deal with those conflict situations. You will feel resistance from your family once they realize that you are not playing into their drama and maintaining your peace. Take this as an inspirational thanksgiving message. I am going try my best to walk you through what might happen and what you need to consider to maintain your peace…
- Be mindful of those political conversations. So what has election 2016 taught us about our behavior? I can’t speak for everyone but the diversity of opinion is a real issue that can cause conflict. The latest election news has recharged the ongoing polarized debates that have always been a part of our society. Angry people tend to demand things, whether it’s fairness, time, respect, appreciation, agreement, or just the willingness to do things their way. We are all hurt, disappointed, and frustrated when we don’t get what we want, but don’t let disappointment turn into anger. Some people use anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn’t make the hurt go away. Anger is usually just on the surface. Under anger can lie embarrassment, sadness, guilt, fear and the list goes on. Therefore, do not go into a political discussion trying to win. Go into any conversation with the aim of letting that person know you understand their point. It will save you the headache and help you maintain your peace.
- )Family Obligation & Tradition Can Cause a lot of stress… The biggest source of stress is the obligations, and the burden of family tradition. Family relationships are complicated. Maybe you come from a long line of physicians or Airmen. It is natural for your family to want you to hold the same beliefs and uphold their traditions. Now, if your opinions and interests are not the dreams of your family, it is your right to think something different. Choice is our greatest gift.
- Avoid Aggressive Confrontation! We have all been in a place where it is just easier to avoid certain situations or people. The solution is not to avoid them completely. Setting boundaries is important, but be mindful not to let fear chase you away from confronting those difficulty family members. What is the worst that can happen? Maybe they get an attitude or cut you off. The reality is that the anger will dissipate. People calm down, change their minds, grow, etc. At least by confronting the issue head on, they can never say that you were being deceitful or untrue. Things always have a way of coming full circle.
- Do not fight negative comments with more negative comments or aggression! We have all had that family member that leans over and whispers something completely unnecessary like, “Getting kind of big, has your new job made you lazy. Statements like these open up the flood gates of stress. If someone says something negative about you, this means that their self-esteem in question. We tend to be more aggressive when our self-worth has been challenged. This means that your new found path has made them feel very insecure.
- Do not let fear control your day! When we are in fear of “blowing it,” we are more likely to blow it. When we suppress anger, we are always on the lookout for scenes or scenarios that would trigger that anger experienced during previous blow ups. The brain translates this into a “movie” of all the scenes, real and imagined that would makes us blow our anger out of proportion. This then multiplies the chances of us exploding. Do not fear those situations, tell yourself that this situation will not cause you to blow up, because it is about you taking care of you!
- This is the Thanksgiving to turn it all around! Embrace that they are who they are. To keep them in your life, you are going to have to love them anyway. Personality is pretty constant. Given that your family members will probably go on being their same old selves, you need to decide what your boundaries are. For example, my husband and I use the word Sweet Tea. If he or I say this, we both know to head for the door. So, I challenge you to come up with a code word. Use this code word to refocus and interrupt your negative thoughts that are provoked by that family member. This code word should remind you a peaceful situation, make you laugh, or make you visualize something completely different. This code word is the first step towards not giving your family member your peace.
- Repeat: It’s not about me. You think it’s about you when your brother calls you a “selfish, lazy, son of a something,” but actually it’s not. You being around him triggers feelings that he does not want to deal with. Just remember misery loves company.
- Don’t try to control them. The only way you can avoid getting stuck in other people’s craziness is by not trying to control them. Disconnect yourself, if you try to argue and explain yourself, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of stress. Constantly explaining your decision will take you on a crazy cycle that will never end. Please do not fight evil with evil. Always fight evil with good.
- Make a plans this Thanksgiving. If it helps to plan where you are going to sit, what conversations you will have and how you will respond to sensitive issues. Come up with potential answers to those sensitive question, but do not drive yourself crazy with the “what if’s”. Plan sensibly. You might invent five or so canned responses to be used when unjustly questioned.
- Plan for recovery time. Therefore, allow some needed recovery time after Thanksgiving. Set aside a day or evening designated for doing things that make you happy. It could be for taking a bubble bath, exercising, watching your favorite movie, spending some time alone reading or cooking, etc.
How will your life be impacted by maintaining your peace this thanksgiving?
- Tomorrow is not promised. That annoying aunt may not be around next Christmas, so do your best to put your mess aside so that you can enjoy the moment. Look to your family for comedy material. Just think how many comedian have made a living off of bad family experiences.
- Have the courage to live a life true to you, not the life others expect you to have. When people realize that their life is almost over, it is easy to see how your holidays have gone unfulfilled. It is important to honor your time. If you have your health, you have freedom. Do all that you can do, while you can do it.
- Your family will respect you.
Maintaining your peace is what you get when you manage your expectations, emotions and tongue. What does peace mean in the bible? According to the scriptures peace means well being. These ’10 Tips for a peaceful Thanksgiving will go a long way. The true meaning of thanksgiving is about finding peace, peace and thankfulness for the here and now. Have a happy Thanksgiving! If you need any support during this Holiday Season, please do not hesitate to reach out! If you have any additional tips, please share your thoughts! Thanks!