Accept who they are, no matter what. They are who they are: allow them to be. What you see is who they are when you are not around. You know very well that it’s what they do all the time; it’s how they live and how things happen when you are not there. Don’t make their problems (or what you perceive to be problems), your problems, especially when you know that it is neither wanted nor appreciated. If you are not prepared to be responsible for their entire lives, don’t take responsibility for their choices and behavior during the holiday season.
Watch them like a movie! If you know you have family members who are drama magnets, then learn to enjoy the entertainment. Family can be stranger than fiction; the more bizarre the stories, the more fascinating. If you were sitting in a theater, watching a movie that kept you on edge of your seat, you’d be captivated right? Learn to watch your family interactions the same way. (But remember not to talk during the movie; your family will not appreciate your comments.) They are your family, not your project! Each of them is responsible for themselves, as you are for yourself. Be available should they choose to ask for your advice or insights on your approach to life, but stop allowing who they are and how they live to bother you. Learn to simply allow.
The holidays won’t make your life with family any more magical, so it’s a setup for disappointment to expect your Thanksgiving to be any happier or your Christmas any merrier. If it does turn out to be pleasantly different, be pleasantly surprised and thankful for that. However, be prepared with a healthier more self-loving purpose for going home for Thanksgiving—to increase your gratitude in anticipation of a new year, or for Christmas—to test and increase your ability to love others despiterather than because. To allow, to be Grown, requires you to gift forgiveness, compassion and acceptance to your family. (Acceptance is not approval. But again, unless they are your minor children, your approval is not required.) You can’t enjoy them if you are focused on judging them.
Most of all, be grateful for your family as a foundation, not a limitation on who you choose to be. Daily, you get to choose the life you live, even if members of your family choose differently. These tips are just the start of learning to live harmoniously with “those people” you love so much, but may often not see eye-to-eye with. The Grown Zone is where you learn even more.
Healthy relationship principles are the same regardless of the type of relationship, including parent-child, sibling, as well as romantic. If you haven’t picked up our book grab it now.