How many of us have difficulties with family gatherings?
There’s that sense of ‘Do I REALLY want to go?’ somewhere inside us, and yet we prepared and go. We might already be dreading the conversations, especially if certain people are present, those that really get on our nerves and push our buttons. That person might be our mom, or sister, or brother. The people that are less easy to avoid during gatherings.
Let’s look at some ways to mentally prepare yourself for these sorts of family gatherings so you can enjoy them as much as is possible.
Here are 5 Ways to Mentally Prepare for Family Gatherings:
Consider What is Good for You.
Sure, you think that you need to attend the gathering. What would be the best way for you to do that? Might it be that you only want to go for two or three hours because if any longer your stress level will hit the roof and the whole thing will be unbearable?
Great! Get clear on what will be a good amount of time for you to attend, and let that be okay with you.
Leave the Past in the Past.
This might be one of the most difficult things that you do and yet it may provide the biggest shift in how much you enjoy the gathering.
If you rehash old stories of what happened at past gatherings and take all the emotion attached to that with you into this year’s gathering, the experience will not be enjoyable. The past is in the past. You can’t change it. You can change how YOU show up for this event.
So, do the mental cleanse and drop all of the stories. Be calm and present in the situation as it shows up.
Decide to be A Listener.
You might think that you need to be a conversationalist; that the only way for you to be okay, seen, or feel included is to talk, talk, and talk some more. Is that really true? What if this time all you did was listen and respond appropriately with a question or comment to show the person that you were listening to them? What I notice when I do this, is that people are more engaging with me. There is a stronger connection than when all I do is talk about me and my life.
So, be a listener and really connect with those present at the gathering. You might just learn some new things about those attending. It might surprise you.
Remember, There are No Mistakes, Only Lessons.
As difficult as attending a gathering can be, you are attending for a reason. Maybe it is a lesson that you must learn, to speak up for yourself, for instance. Maybe you need to learn to be kind to yourself and only go for a short period of time.
Maybe you are to learn how to listen and not need everyone’s attention. Going to the gathering, no matter how painful it may be, could be the best gift you give yourself this holiday season.
Consider these Questions:
- What lesson might you take from preparing and attending the family gathering?
- What can you be grateful for?
- What is the one thing you could do differently this year?
Give yourself a High Five!
Attend the event and give yourself a high five when you leave. Celebrate the fact that you went, no matter how difficult. Think about the one small thing that you did differently after preparing yourself mentally for the gathering and celebrate that you did it.
Family gatherings are an opportunity to notice where you are disconnected from yourself and others.
That, in itself, is a gift!
Wishing you peace and love at your family gatherings this holiday season!