Holiday tips for relationship mending
The holidays are a time for us to reconnect with family and friends who we might not have spent much time with. This newsletter is about how to mend relationships, and the holidays might represent an opportunity to do so, if we approach it correctly.
Even though we expect holidays to be magical, they can be stressful. Part of that stress has to do with the expectation that it will be magical.
You can’t count on the good spirits of the holiday season to mend your relationship. But if you approach an encounter with reasonable expectations, then you might make progress. It would unreasonable to expect that the family member with whom you have always had political disagreements will magically have changed to see everything your way. It is reasonable to expect that, although they may hold the same beliefs as before, by focusing on discussing topics on which you do agree, you can enjoy the time you spend together. That may open the way for future conversations.
And in order to make progress, you need to take care of yourself and stay present in the moment. The progress you make may be small. It may be imperceptible and not a complete healing. But if you pay attention, you can count any little advance as a win. It’s important to mark these slight advances, to give ourselves an incentive to continue.
I’ve learned to pat myself on the back for any time that I am present when I used to either react poorly or check out. That happened to me on Thanksgiving, when someone made an inflammatory remark. I was able to stay present, contribute to a reasonable conversation and leave feeling good about myself. It didn’t blow up dinner, there were no hard feelings, and perhaps I made a little bit of progress in that relationship.
This stuff works, but it takes time. Don’t expect it to happen all at once, even though is a magical time of the year.
I’d love to hear stories of how these ideas worked for you or how they didn’t. Please feel free to comment either here or at my website: https://persuadedontpreach.com/contact/