Just the stress of knowing you’ll be in the same room for a while with “that person” is enough to set off little earthquakes with your kids and husband before you even arrive. If you mentally prepare ahead of time, maybe this year can be different. No need to fight or have bad feelings, but you may need to take a few steps to make this happen.
Focus on the positive – Realize that you will not change this persons thinking, so focus on their positives. Look at how the things that drive you crazy about them could actually be a good thing. Ok, let’s try it together, repeat after me. “Gee, your passion is contagious! I love how you really believe in things you’re on fire for.”
Don’t challenge – There’s no need to challenge someones statement. You don’t actually have to say everything you think. It took me years to learn this one and I’m still a work in progress. Just sit back and listen. You don’t have to be part of every conversation and speak your mind on everything. And if it’s your spouse that loves to goad, tell him ahead of time that you would appreciate if he would use restraint and resist those opportunities.
You’re not perfect - You don’t have all the answers either. This is a great opportunity to show your faith and confidence by being humble and self-depreciating. Sometimes the things you DON’T say, speak louder than comments that can be demeaning and argumentative. Try being loving and tender this year.
Life is so short, and family gathers are few and far between. Enjoy them! And take lots of pictures.
E-mail me your thoughts.