One of the most frequent questions I hear from clients and fans is “How do I deal with judgmental or critical family members?” Everyone wants to know if they should keep them in their life or ditch them, and if they keep them, how then can they keep their own sanity.
Whether you decide to tolerate not-so-nice family members is up to you. My personal motto is “My love is unconditional however my tolerance is not.” I don’t believe we are obligated to put up with abuse or meanness from anyone. With that said, please also take a look at your tolerance level. Some things can (and should be) shrugged off…. are you emotionally detached? If not, here are 6 tips to help you emotionally detach when you visit snarky family members during the Holidays!
1 Arrive with a plan! Before you even leave your home to travel over the river and through the woods, devise a clear plan for escape! Decide with your partner on how long you will stay, and the exact time you will leave. If you decide to play it by ear, then at least come up with a signal to let the other know when you have had your fill. A simple ear tug, or a throat clear can be a sign that you are ready to leave and then you don’t have to feel like you’re the bad guy dragging everyone away from Grandma’s house.
2 Distract yourself! Bring items of distraction that will keep you focused on anything but your mother’s “Gee you have gained some weight” comments. A good book, board games to play with the kids, or your favorite holiday movie. Whatever it is, distract yourself from the negative comments and put your attention elsewhere.
3 Give, help, donate, volunteer! When you focus your energy on helping others, you have little time to think about the negative influences in your life. A fan today told me that she was going to have extra cards at her house for family to fill out, then she would send them to Holiday Mail for Heroes! Yay! Great way to change your family’s focus onto something worthy!
4 Wear your walking shoes! Be prepared to take a little walk if you need to escape. We can’t always be perfect and deflect the negativity so take a break if you need to! You can take a walk, get some fresh air, offer to run to the convenience store for more butter, or just sneak off and enjoy a quiet moment alone.
5 Discharge! If you don’t express your emotions, they just pile up and you are left lugging them around in the form of baggage for years to come. If you don’t feel you can express yourself during your Holiday gathering, then do it afterwards. You can talk to your partner and discharge all of your hurt feelings, or you can journal about it. Another nice way to dump hurt feelings is to write a letter to your offender and burn it. Be sure to be as explicit as you can be, then shred or burn the letter. You will be surprised at how liberating it is to free yourself of emotional baggage!
6 Breath deeply and relax! Take some nice, big, deep breaths and imagine yourself enclosed in a giant gold bubble. Nothing that anyone says can hurt, harm, or offend you. It all just slides right off as you sit back and relax. Nice deep breaths and controlled reactions. You are allowed to relax and enjoy peace, even if someone is trying to get you going. You don’t have to attend every drama party you are invited to!
I hope you are able to emotionally detach and enjoy a very happy and healthy Holiday Season! You have the opportunity to practice your new-found wisdom next week on Thanksgiving Day! Enjoy, relax, detach, and Live Inspired Now!
Heather Paris inspires people all over the world to create happier lives through talks, workshops, blog posts, and her book, Live Inspired Now; A Field Guide For Happiness. For more information about transforming your relationship, family, or your life, contact Heather today!