How to defuse the tension of family holidays

The holidays are upon us. Raise your hand if you or your family feel any tension around the holidays.

My husband says that the way to a happy marriage is not having any expectations. I say, the reason he’s so happy isn’t because he doesn’t have expectations, but because I’m just everything he ever expected. 😉

Kidding aside, though, there IS some truth to our expectations causing us some grief. One of the biggest reasons holidays can bring up tension is because we think people (including ourselves) should act and feel certain ways.

Have you ever heard yourself say, “It’s Christmas, everyone should be happy.” “It’s Thanksgiving, we should all want to be together.” “It’s Halloween, we should all have fun!” Is that really true?

Is everyone happy on Christmas? Does everyone get together, or WANT to get together on Thanksgiving? Should everyone have fun on Halloween?

All of these thoughts put a lot of pressure on ourselves and others to feel or do something that we may not feel or really want to do.

Let’s take Thanksgiving. What if everyone doesn’t WANT to get together this year? How do you think you’d feel if everyone DID want to get together? Is it connected? Love? Security?

Why do you think you’d feel those things? Sometimes we think we automatically feel connected to someone because they’re spending time with us. But have you ever spent time with someone and not felt connected?

The feeling of connection comes from our thoughts like, “We want to be together.” “I love them.” “They love me.” “We agree.” “We’re so much alike.” The other person doesn’t have to be thinking them, for you to. You can feel connected without the other person feeling connected.

Did you know these thoughts are true whether you’re together or not together? In fact, sometimes they’re even easier to believe when you’re not together.

If you’re starting to feel tension about other people’s choices or feelings around the holidays, take a step back and ask yourself how you think you’d feel if they behaved or felt the way you want them to. What would you believe? Then skip the part where you try to get them to do or feel the way you want them to, and believe the thoughts despite what they do or feel.

Choose to love them even if they’re unhappy, or don’t want to come to dinner. It’s always an option.

P.S. Want some help with a difficult relationship? I would love to help you get some relief and start to show up and feel the way you really want to. Sign up for a FREE 45-minute Consultation. I will give you personalized help for your situation.