It’s the holidays. Fa-La-La-La-La, La-La-La-La
Thanksgiving Day is now two weeks past and it was just perfect with all your beautiful people near and dear. That grateful day stirred your heart with love and belonging. It reminded you why you love the holidays so very much.
If that was your experience…stop reading now. Exactly none of the words in this post today are for you. I love you! Enjoy your hugs and happiness! But we’ll talk again in the new year.
For the rest of you…
Maybe your experience was more like this…
Before the day even began the family was all up in a tizzy. Bickering was all around. “SHE is making the dressing?!” “We need to change the time so I can see the game!” “He’s bringing who?” “Why wasn’t _____ invited?!” The exchanges were laden with negativity and primed with passive-aggression. All you could think was, why did I choose this over a vacation?! This happens every year! I could be by a pool or with my feet in the sand right now. U-G-H!
In the time spent preparing, hosting or serving, and cleaning up, you may have wondered when the adults in your life will act like…ADULTS?!
Sadly, the answer is, “Maybe, never.”
That’s right. They may never change their ways or even see that they need to. Their relationship patterns are ingrained. Their brain pathways have been trailed. Short of a spiritual awakening, therapy, and/or maybe even a little medication these dear ones will always be raising all the hells on the holidays (and in between).
So what is the solution??? How do we stay sane???
As Glennon Doyle shared recently,
“Tis the season to set boundaries. Fa-La-La-La-La, La-La-La-La”
I died laughing when I read that!! Then I realized some people may have never heard of boundaries much less know how to set them.
Simply put, boundaries are lines marking the limits of an area. When referring to boundaries in social or familial relationships we are talking about defining what practically and emotionally belongs to us and what belongs to someone else.
Let’s consider this for a second, if you have a fenced yard and your neighbor takes down part of your fence simply because they want to expand their yard they would literally be crossing your boundary. Also, without even touching your fence they can invade your space. Have you ever had the neighbor that mows their yard at 6:30 am?
Relationally, we can set boundaries as well. We can tell people how we would like to be treated and how we would like to spend our time. Not everyone will agree with your boundaries, but they are YOURS! You don’t need anyone’s permission to decide what you like and what you do not like.
There is goodness and peace and joy and hope when we know what belongs where…even when we talk about feelings.
Here are a few ideas for more peace through the holidays:
- Don’t Go…Yep, I just gave you permission to opt out of your next family or friend gathering. Plan a trip to Disney. Go on a hike you’ve been dreaming of but never found the time for. Call your BFF who suffers all the same familial funk and make a whole new plan. You can do it! This is your holiday. Enjoy it doing whatever gives rise to gratitude and peace in your heart.
- Say No…Go ahead. Try it. It sounds like go but it starts with “N.” The word “No” shares a second letter with the word Holy. Sometimes I call it a “Holy No.” IF your peace is robbed by whatever you are being tasked to do for your family’s impending disaster then reply with a hardy and holy No. There is nothing righteous or good about a yes that causes stress.
- Let Go…It is possible to show up, to be in a storm and be at peace. It’s not easy, but it is possible. It takes some skills. Begin with a slow deep breath. No, really, breathe! Then think these words, “This is not about me. This is a reflection of whatever is going on inside of them. I cannot control any of this. I can only control myself and I choose to be at peace.” This is not a perfect formula, but it will help. Trust me.
Setting boundaries practically and emotionally takes practice and if you are doing this for the first time you can expect your family/friends to have a variety of reactions. Be patient with them. They’ve probably never heard your true voice before. It will take some time for them to adjust. Still, stay the course. Speak truth to others and to yourself kindly and gently. You are worth it!
May you have the happiest of happy holidays this year! And may your days be merry and bright!