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How to Handle Family Holidays with Grace
The holidays are here and for many of us, they represent a challenging time. It’s easy to be our best when we’re surrounded by people who think like we do and share our values. But the true measure of our emotional health and dignity is tested when we share our time with those who live differently than we do. Here are 4 tips to help you navigate the season with the ones you love.
To ensure that you have a great holiday season, I recommend taking a moment of mindfulness before you attend each of your holiday gatherings. Remind yourself of the purpose of the event. Most people are invited to gatherings because they love each other as family or friends. When you focus on the reasons for attending... to honor the season, to wish each other well and to remember the good in the world, it gets easier to let negative things go as they come up in conversations.
Age old wisdom is to avoid hot topics such as religion, politics, parenting differences and our values. But when someone else brings up any of these topics, it's important that you listen to their views and opinions in the same way you would want others to hear you... with acceptance, tolerance and respect for what you think and believe. You need to give what you wish to receive. So, I recommend offering that gift to others, even if you don't agree with their point of view.
Pick Your Battles
You may have a harder time having compassion when it comes to some topics. Maybe this is an issue you feel very strongly about, or maybe the opposing argument has triggered something personal. Whatever the reason may be, biting our tongues can be easier said than done when it’s something we feel very strongly about. Recognize and accept this before you find yourself in this situation and know when to pick your battles. We cannot control what others may say or do, but we can control the way we react to it.
Keep an Open Mind
Learning to co-exist positively with others who don't align with your perspective is perhaps one of the best measures of how loving, kind and compassionate you are as an individual. Don’t wait for someone else to make the world a better place but be the person to do just that with an open mind and an open heart.