The joys and challenges of spending the holidays with family

Happy holidays everybody!  I hope you’re having a lovely time together as a family and I know that when we get extra time together with our immediate families and especially when we spend time with extended family, tensions can run high.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Almost inevitably when we celebrate with our families, there’s someone whose beliefs are different from our own, or there’s a sibling or parent who treats us in just the same way they treated us when we were five or who treats our children in ways we don’t enjoy.  The holidays can be a time of joy and celebration, and a time that warrants a lot of introspection, conflict resolution skills, and mediation between family members.

Although we all might intend to have a nice Christmas dinner or a beautiful Solstice celebration or (insert your holiday here), there are times when feelings get hurt, alcohol helps remove inhibitions, and we can suddenly find ourselves or other family members in the midst of conflict.  So what can we do when our lovely celebration is about to deteriorate into chaos?  We can practice EMPATHY.  When we tune in to the feelings and needs of the people around us, we can turn a potential argument into an opportunity to connect more deeply.

Imagine the person in your family who is the most challenging for you.  What feelings arise as you think of this person?  What are your underlying unmet needs when you interact with this person?  Can you come up with any strategies to help meet your needs?  Perhaps you need to take some space and time to yourself, or maybe you need stimulation like a game or other organized activity.  Now, consider the other person.  What is he or she likely to be feeling?  What could this person be needing?  And are there any strategies that can actually meet BOTH people’s needs?

There may be times when you’re able to use empathy with your family and there will be other times when you just can’t muster it.  Remember that you’re doing your best and your best is good enough.  If you’re not able to offer empathy to others, at least try to offer it to yourself.  Take time and space to yourself when you need it and tune in to you.   By connecting with your own feelings and needs and offering yourself compassion and understanding, you’re teaching your loved ones by example how to have a healthy loving relationship to themselves.  And that’s a crucial skill!

And most of all, remember that the holidays are temporary, pretty soon you be back in your comfort zone surrounded by people with similar values who love and understand you exactly as you are.  Sending you all huge holiday hugs, Shelly

2 comments
vakantiehuizen spanje
vakantiehuizen spanje

We willen altijd dat we onze vakantie door te brengen met veel vreugde of volledig plezier, zal het waar als je familie is ook met jou ... Je doet gewoon een heel leuk met het hele gezin ...

locations villas espagne
locations villas espagne

Echt, de feestdagen wordt zo verbazingwekkend als je familie met je ... Dat is waar, als we extra tijd samen met onze naaste familie en vooral wanneer we tijd doorbrengen met familie, spanningen kunnen hoog oplopen ... Bedankt voor dit leuke bericht ..

Lisa Kathleen
Lisa Kathleen

Heehee. When I can't muster empathy, I imagine myself in a cartoon or movie, and try to muster humour...off to our family dinner....
In joy,
Lisa Kathleen