I love what Spiritual Teacher, Ram Dass has to say on the matter of family — “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.”
The holiday season is filled with whimsical splendour, warmth, and laughter. But it can also trigger old emotional wounds that resurface right at the dinner table.
Family relationships can be our greatest teachers, and used as a barometer to test our personal growth.
Like that distant cousin of yours that lives in an 80′s time machine, and enjoys using you’re not-so-finest moments as a conversation piece with the family.
Or how about that lovely sister-in-law of yours that constantly grills you about your personal life.
It can be a rather fun-filled, button-pushing kinda holiday, pulling you right back to old memories and stunting your growth if you’re not armed with love, forgiveness, and grace.
So what do you do when the family member that you love so dearly blurts out something that triggers you deeply, and you can almost feel the steam rising to the surface?
Here are 5 practical, spiritual tips for an open hearted, harmonious holiday:
1) Allow people to be who they are.
This is one of the wisest, most loving things that you can possibly do for yourself and the other person. Acknowledge that this person is on their own path, having their own experience. It doesn’t, in any way have to match yours, nor should it affect you in any way. Give them the full forum to express themselves without restriction, and you’ll be amazed at how freeing this will be for both of you.
2) Your job is not to fix people, it’s to love them.
We are often compelled to fix someone when they say or do something that is not in keeping with the way we like things to be. Sometimes we don’t realize that it’s not our job. Our job is to simply love them for who they are. No one enjoys being evaluated, and one of the best gifts that we can give someone is acceptance.
3) Preserve your peace by putting a lid on it.
Sometimes it’s just best to put a lid on it and not say anything at all. Wisdom is knowing that there is a time and a place, and not every comment requires a rapid-fire response. A reaction riddled with anger only adds to the fire of the situation and completely robs you of your power and your peace.
4) Refrain from taking things personally.
When judgments are made, it’s easy to become overly sensitive, and take yourself way too seriously. By learning not to take things so personally, it becomes less about you, and more about shifting the attention to what’s really important – a moment to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones.
5) Humour, and lots of it!
Be silly, please! Laughter is contagious. No one enjoys being around a party-pooper. Be engaging, pull out a joke or two. A good belly laugh can heal a rather, tense situation and become one heck of a peace treaty. Smile, allow yourself to have fun, and more importantly, savor the moment.
Let this be your guide, and you’ll not only survive, but thrive this holiday season.
Now over to you, have you got any techniques that you’d like to share with the rest of us on how to squash family conflict with grace over the holiday season?
OR, need advice?
Do share your heartfelt thoughts and Comments with the community on the blog, and I’ll be sure to Reply.
As always, I’d love to hear from you!