How to Deal with Your Relatives During the Holidays

As we plunge into the holiday season, many of us will be spending intensive time with our relatives. If you love your family and they are all easy to be with, way to go! If not, you may find yourself with relatives who are difficult to be with, accompanied by unresolved events, patterns, and histories. How, then, can you keep the season of joy joyful? Here are some tips:

1. Be honest about your choices. Saying “yes” to invitations and gatherings that you would rather not attend depletes your energy and puts you in a state of inner conflict. Have the courage and confidence to be where you would choose to be, with people you prefer, rather than acting from fear, guilt, or obligation. A couple once complained to me that their annoying relatives were visiting them every Thanksgiving. “Why are they there?” I asked. “We invited them.” We can be at choice about those we invite , and invitations we accept, and those we don’t.

2. Set healthy boundaries. If three hours is the maximum time you can enjoy hanging out with your mom, gracefully depart at that time. If you don’t feel like watching football or going shopping, take a walk in the park. If the conversation turns to gossip or argument, change the subject or leave the room. Know your limits and stick to them.

3. Set up your mind and energy to stay peaceful. Before you enter a gathering, sit for 5 or 10 minutes and surround yourself in a sphere of white or golden light. Resolve that only that which matches positivity, love, harmony, and well-being can enter your space, and any other energies will be deflected and not touch you. Make it your primary goal to remain content during your family gathering, no matter what anyone says or does. If you feel peaceful by the time you leave, your time is a success.

4. Send your relatives love. Before you set out on your travels or enter a gathering, mentally speak to your relatives, especially difficult ones, from your soul to theirs. No matter how messed up they are on a personality level, or how dysfunctional your relationship has been, there is a place inside them that is whole, healthy, and available for heartfelt communication. In meditation or prayer, tell them of your love for them and your desire to enjoy a mutually supportive relationship. Trust that soul-to-soul communication is real and it works. It does.

5. Cultivate relationships and gatherings with people who are meaningful to you. Wayne Dyer used to quote, “Friends are God’s way of apologizing for your relatives.” Richard Bach, in his book Illusions, said, “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” If you have respect and joy with your blood relatives, you are blessed. If not, go where respect and joy authentically live.

This is the season of light. It is a time of joyous connection, completing the old, and opening to the new. Your contribution to your life, your relatives, the season, and the world is your own peace, whatever it takes for you to achieve that. You are the light of the world, and so are your relatives. Let it shine.


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