Even if we actually enjoy the presence of our families, getting through the holidays can be tough. Family comes with a lot of expectations. For some reason, we believe we cannot expect the same from friends as we do from family. Family has a high bar and yet at the same time, we also forgive them the most. Because I guess, they are the ones most likely to disappoint us with the high standards we impose on them.
This is why being around family for a while can be tough. Not only do you have expectations for them, but they towards you. And a lot of the times, past disappointments can be piled up and come out in moments – like when there is alcohol involved. Being around the people closest to you – at least at one point closest to you, can be a double edge sword: They have the ability to make you feel loved the most and have the ability to hurt you the most.
So how do you get through it? The shear amount of people really close to each other that have disappointed one another can just be overwhelming. Here are some easy tips:
1) Take breaks. In the bathroom, in a bed room whatever. Go more often than you think you should. Just check in with yourself and see how you are feeling. Its easy to feel so lost with all these people around you.
2) If you feel lonely – write to a friend. Even if they don’t respond know that there are other people out there that are not your family and are there for you too. You are not limited to that world and that table.
3) Breathe. Take a moment around the table to just check in with your breathing. If you can, just focus on counting your breaths to ten. You can even do it with a smile on your face and pretending to nod. Trust me, this will help you get through any kind of political discussions or jabs. Or even boredom. It’s my secret weapon.
4) Google affirmations on your phone under the table. If you notice any specific feeling arise – like feeling inadequate or anxious or unaccomplished, google that specifically. Its great to get a certain reminder like “I am of value” or “I am doing my best” forces these thoughts into your head. You don’t have to believe them, it just helps to hear them.
5) Don’t listen to what everyone says. We all have our favourite people. Zone out the other ones, just focus on your favourite person in that room and what they have to say. Even if there is really no one that makes you feel amazing, at least one person is the lesser evil or has gone through more pain than you. Say to yourself you will only accept what they have to say. It limits the noise.
With that – I wish you happy holidays and hope you get through it. I follow my 6th advise which is: if all else fails and you are able to, celebrate on your own with your own made family.