Family get togethers at the holidays are not a source of peace and joy for everyone. Many people will quietly admit to their friends that they would rather not spend any more time with their families than they absolutely have to. Families often contain a mix of personalities, life choices, strong opinions, and even ethics that for some are interesting and enjoyable, but for many are actually stressful, painful and frustrating. They can be uncomfortable enough that we separate ourselves as much as possible from them in our lives for most of the year. Family members often cause each other pain, anywhere from “stepping on toes” to full scale emotional and even physical abuse. Yet there is an expectation at the holidays that we must spend time with our families and that we will enjoy it.
It is uncommon to find people in this dilemma simply choosing to not see their families at all for the holidays. That is a stretch few can bring themselves to make. Often this comes from a hope that one year, maybe this year, things will be different and the family will come to resemble a Hallmark commercial after all. But with the hope comes anxiety and dread that it will stay the same as it always has. Unfortunately, without conscious changes within the family, that magical shift does not occur and the hope is followed by disappointment, frustration and anger.
Have you struggled with those feelings at the holidays? Does it seem impossible to go through another year of hurt, discomfort and angry outbursts? Conscious changes are the key to making your own magic within your family holiday, and can be simpler than you may think. Small things you do this year within and for yourself will help you in not only surviving the holidays one more time, but feeingl a little less frustration, a little less anger, and a little more joy immediately, joy and calm that will carry you through next year and all the years to come.
Even small things can still appear impossible, however, when you have so many years under your belt of bad experiences and bad habits. If your father has always put you down for your financial decisions, and you have always gotten upset because you want to be allowed to make your own decisions and be considered intelligent, it may seem impossible to see yourself responding any other way. If your sister has always told you about all the things you “should do about” your appearance to be prettier, and you have always felt hurt and told her off for it, it may seem impossible to not defend yourself from her in this way. If your husband has always teamed up with your brother to make snide commentary on your poor “housewife” skills, and you have always felt injured and gone silent as you try to avoid their cruel scrutiny, it may seem impossible to feel anything other than alone and beaten. None of these things are impossible! Surviving the holidays and staying happy is challenging, yes. But not impossible.
At this point your strength and ability is just lying within you and needs to be encouraged, re-awakened, supported. You can start making changes with understanding, a plan, and support. Support is crucial when you feel alone within your family struggles. The assistance of a coach has helped people do everything from win football games and gymnastic competitions to begin a new career, to jump out of a tiny capsule 128,100 feet in the air and break the sound barrier. Working with a coach is an incredible way to accomplish anything in your life. It means having someone who cares about you, but is objective about your problems, so he or she can help you see alternatives, challenges and plans that you cannot see from your perspective.
Coaches find our strength and show it to us. This year, the most amazing gift you could give yourself is strength and the rebuilding of joy in your future, with a little help from a coach to keep you going and keep you sane. Take a few minutes to look at this video now to get you started on surviving the holidays and preserving your happiness. You deserve the gift of happiness. And you can save the bow for that apron you give to your husband this year so he can help you with your “housewife” duties. Happy Holidays.