Family holiday visits are something most of us either love or hate. When family gets together, memories abound – both good and not so good. However, there is something a little different about extended family – especially those on your mate’s side of the family. You know who I’m talking about – “the in-laws.”
There are plenty of jokes about family visits and “the in-laws.” Unfortunately, many of those jokes are based on truth and they seem much funnier when they are about someone else. They can hit a little too close to home at times. For most people, the holidays are the main time of year when it feels like you especially need to try to be (or at least appear to be) pleasant and cordial. After all, that is what is expected – loving, perfect family holiday gatherings full of warm hugs, happy smiles and lots of laughter.
News Flash – You Can Do This
We’ve all seen the movies, it’s just natural, right? Not for everyone, and (true confessions) not the least bit natural for me at all. The pressure we put on ourselves to be “that person” who has it all together and treats everyone lovingly can be stressful and tend to disrupt our peace if we allow it. The good news is that you can get through a holiday visit from the in-laws without feeling overwhelmed or overloaded with stress.
One of the best ways to address the situation is to look for common ground. Surely you have something you agree with them on. If nothing comes to mind, ask your mate for some ideas. You don’t have to figure this out alone. Maybe it’s something as simple as a holiday outing to look at decoration, or a walk outdoors. Stay away from anything that may be controversial or push each other’s buttons.
With all the excitement and activity, it’s important to seek out some peace and quiet for yourself. Even if you have to stay up a bit later or get up a few minutes earlier, set aside time to center yourself, focus on the good things in your life, and prepare yourself for what comes next. I like to be sure to keep up any morning routines I have, even if I have to abbreviate them a bit. It helps keep a sense of normal in you day.
Remember – The Holidays are Temporary
As you approach the holidays and while your in-laws and any other guests are visiting, always keep in mind:
* The year is long and the holidays are short.
* Your partner loves these people and wants a nice visit.
* It’s okay to agree to disagree without being rude or antagonistic.
* Let things go. What does it matter what others think? You are the one you have to see in the mirror each morning.
* You aren’t trapped (I promise). You still can find time to get away occasionally to experience peace and quiet – even if it is hiding out in the shower a bit longer than usual.
* Judgment doesn’t make anything better, but unconditional love and acceptance paves the way to a smoother visit and holiday celebration.
* Your space isn’t gone forever. It will soon be yours again, and you will have the quiet satisfaction that you were able to help make good memories for all.
Ways to Keep the Peace
Consider these strategies to keep the holidays in your heart and your interactions loving and peaceful:
First and foremost, remember that like attracts like. I can’t say this often enough. If you are going to be stressed and on edge, expect that you will draw that same energy to you. Be the person you would like to spend your time with. Treat others like you’d like to be treated. This will certainly improve the whole vibration of your visit.
Change your point of view. Try to see your in-laws’ visit from the perspective of your mate. These are their parents. If your partner doesn’t see these people all year, they may miss them lot. Let peace reign, no matter how you feel toward them. Your mate will appreciate your consideration, and your holiday will be more enjoyable.
Suggest things your spouse can do with your visitors. That gives them plenty of time to enjoy one another’s company and allows you to go off and do something you would prefer to do. That way, you limit your time with your in-laws without seeming rude. Be considerate and it will help you stay happy and peaceful throughout the holidays.
When you do spend time together as an extended family, really listen to what they have to say. You may learn something about them that makes you appreciate them more or that changes your perception of them. The holiday will be what you make of it, so take the time to make it a good one for everyone.
During the holidays, lives are hectic. Visits with in-laws are often just one small part of the equation. The time with them can contribute to the positive experiences of the holiday season if you approach it with a positive spirit and a sense of compassion for everyone involved. You can get make the choice to enjoy this holiday visit with a smile and maybe even look forward to their next visit.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.
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