IT’S OKAY TO SET BOUNDARIES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.” – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati (spiritual teacher)
When I came across this quote, I felt compelled to share it as we’re going into the Holiday season. For some of us, the ‘drama’ is about or has started to unfold as we prepare for Thanksgiving. What is supposed to be a joyful and calming time as we reflect on all the things we are grateful for, is one of considerable stress. The stress is induced by such things like cooking, some of the guests we will be sharing the time with that are not nice people to be around, certain life experiences like the reminder of a loved one that is no longer with us.
Case in point, I have spoken to several friends who have shared that they are dreading the Holidays because they have people in their families that are rude and make gatherings very uncomfortable. For instance, one person complaint about a relative that always ruins the occasion by drinking too much and then he start cursing on the top of his lungs and even have started physical fights. Another spoke about someone who is just rude and say inappropriate things that makes family and guest uncomfortable. This has resulted in her only inviting people over who she knows will understand and not be offended.
Can you relate? Maybe your situation may not be as extreme as the ones described above. It could be that although you love your family dearly, you can only tolerate them in small doses.
QUESTION: So, why do we tolerate these behaviors?
ANSWER: We don’t know how to set boundaries! We are concerned about everyone except how we are feeling. I have news for you! Your feelings are as important as others and it is not selfish to acknowledge and do what makes you happy!
The following are a few tips to help you to set some boundaries this holiday season so that you can experience the Holidays in a way that brings you joy and peace.
TIP #1: As the quote above says, take some time and “quiet your mind”. Ask yourself what would bring you happiness this Holiday Season. In other words, what would your ideal Holiday look like? Maybe you cannot have it all but incorporate small aspects of it can make a BIG difference.
TIP #2: If the Holiday celebration is at your home, speak directly with that relative or friend that usually create havoc and share how his or her behavior makes you feel and that there will be a consequence if this behavior occurs. You will have to identify a consequence that you are comfortable implementing. Two important things to be aware of:
- How this person feels or takes what you say is not your concerns. You have the right to set these boundaries but it is important to do so in a respectful manner.
- You must follow through with the consequence. If not, you will be like the boy who called wolf.
Having other family members who share your feelings support you in setting these limits can be extremely helpful!
TIP #3: If the Holiday event is not at your home and you are a guest. There are a few ways that you can respond:
- Call your host, in advance, and tell them that you are not able to make it. Important, use the time to create your special celebration.
- As we say in Jamaica, “show your face” the day of the event and then leave when you feel that you have had enough. (Note: Drive your own car so that you don’t have to wait for a ride because this could defeat the purpose).
TIP #4: Instead of cooking for everyone. Ask your guests to bring a side dish. This will definitely reduce the anxiety that some people experience that have to cook a full course meal.
TIP #5: If the Holidays makes you depressed because it reminds you of a loved one that is no longer with you
- Acknowledge how you are feeling
- Take a new look at your situation. This person had special qualities that endeared you to him or her. Use the time to celebrate his or her life. Share happy memories about the person with friends and family.
- Please don’t isolate! That is the key think that you’ll feel like doing. Force yourself to be among others. The hardest part is getting out of the house. One you do, the cloud often lifts.
- Create a memory book of pictures, quotes, letters – include anything that brings back fun memories about your loved one. One way of enhancing your book is to ask others to share their happy memories about your loved ones and include it in your book.
IMPORTANT: Please share below in the comment section some boundaries that you have set that have yielded positive outcomes!
Until next time…
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