I’ve been thinking a lot about the holidays – specifically conflict during the holidays. My clients are already talking about disagreements regarding where to be when and with whom. Couples are feeling the stress and already in conflict with each other. Spouses in conflict with their in-laws. Some feel their partners choose their family of origin over them. Some are getting caught in costly accommodation. So many traps! It’s so hard to meet expectations and also tend to ourselves. Someone inevitably complains that we didn’t prioritize them enough, not to mention the debates over the dinner table, and the judgments about our parenting. Ugh!
So, how can we navigate this?
In preparation for making a plan for the holidays to be more in line with what you want, I have 3 questions for you to consider. Take time with them. Get out your journal and a pen and get writing.
- If you really dialed in your values, and put anyone else’s aside, what is most important to YOU over the holidays? While your family might be complicated, I suspect you care about maintaining the relationships in the best way you can. Take time to get really clear on what YOU value. Where did you adopt these values? How do religion, tradition, and history impact what you value?
- If you could craft holiday celebrations that embody your values, what would it look like? How would you spend your time and who would be involved?
- What do others expect of you? What do your in-laws, your own family, or your own spouse want? Get really clear on this. And take time to ask them this very direct question. Don’t base your response on assumptions.
Steps you can take to reduce conflict during the holidays create a plan you can embrace
- Take care of yourself. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally, and load up on self-compassion. Plug: Our Yoga Nidra mini-retreat on November 4 is a great opportunity!
- Take some time to look at where you can find common ground. Plan those things and take ownership. Even if it wasn’t your idea or it’s expected, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be meaningful to you, too. This can help you avoid resentment and a victim mentality.
- For those items that you do not have in common, which ones are you willing to do in service of your family? Which ones cause you the most inner conflict?
- Are there any boundaries you want to set this Christmas?
Please send me your thoughts! And don’t forget to love yourself…but remember that real self-care isn’t something you can check off on a to-do list, it’s about the internal work of digging deep within ourselves to create a life we love. See this article here for more on that.
Please know that we at Heartswell are always here to help. We’ve experienced many of the same challenges you do and we’ve committed to figuring it out and helping you. Send us a message through the contact form below to learn more.