The holidays are fast approaching and for many people nerves and anxiety seem to peek at this time of year due to spending a lot more time with family. Our families can be our greatest teachers as they definitely bring up our unhealed stuff and it’s no surprise that many families experience increased conflict and drama at this time of year.
If you’re on a spiritual journey of self-empowerment, self- love and healing, chances are you have changed the way you perceive your family dynamics, and what you once accepted as loving and normal may not sit so well with you anymore. The key to peaceful family interactions is to ensure that you are not imposing your opinions on your family members this holiday season!
Here are some comments (that are not asked for) that a lot of families have heard or said to one another that can cause pain and upset.
“Do you think you need that second piece of cake?”
“Your house is so messy, you should clean up more”
“I love you but you need to take better care of yourself”
“You’re so skinny. You have to eat more”
“Your thighs got a bit thicker since the last time I saw you”
“This dish tastes blah. You need more flavouring to it”
“Your hair is super thin. It looks like you’re balding. Maybe you should get extensions.”
“You look so tired. Are you getting enough sleep?”
“You’re so quiet. You must not like us anymore.”
“Your house is looking really outdated, you really should consider a renovation.”
And the list goes on and on! I know some of you are chuckling at some of the above comments either because they are so utterly ridiculous, or maybe you are surprised because you have been the one to utter something similar. Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of these types of comments. I know some of you are thinking “what’s so wrong with voicing a concern to my family member out of love?” There’s nothing wrong with expressing genuine concern but it’s important to use discernment and wisdom. Ask yourself if you really need to express that point and why, and if the answer is a yes, then find a time to speak with your family member personally. Most of the points mentioned above are usually said flippantly, without much prior thought as to how they may be received.
Here’s what to do if you are the one who has uttered these types of comments to someone you love.
Say something like,
“I’m sorry I said ____. That was rude and insensitive of me. Please forgive me. I’ll do better next time.”
And really work on self-forgiveness and self-compassion here. You probably weren’t trying to hurt your loved one, but in mistakenly thinking you can say anything to the people you love, you did hurt them.
Here’s what to say if you’re on the receiving end of these types of comments. Firstly, decide if you need to say something. Depending on the relationship and the frequency you see the person, sometimes silence is a good option. If you cannot let it go, and you will continue to see the person regularly, I recommend expressing yourself. If you don’t, the person will continue to say things you don’t want to hear.
Say something like,
“Please don’t say that to me as it hurts my feelings.”
Advocating for yourself may not give you the response you want. The person may turn it around and gaslight (make you feel guilty for expressing your feelings and take offense) you for even saying anything in the first place! Unfortunately, someone else’s reaction is not something you can control and thick boundaries need to be in place if you are choosing to continue a relationship with this person.
If someone expresses being hurt by something you said, even if you said it in love, the self-evolved reply would sound something like this.
“I’m sorry I hurt you. I truly did not intend to. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’ll do better next time.”
And that’s it! No need to justify or overexplain yourself. Take responsibility for hurting someone and move forward with love and compassion for yourself and for the person.
Family dynamics are super hard but can lead to our ultimate growth. The journey toward self-evolution brings up all of our unhealed childhood stuff whether we like it or not! Be gentle with yourself and with your family members. Remind yourself that everyone is doing the best they can from their level of awareness. Be easily forgiving, but set boundaries for your mental and emotional health.
Seek to grow, to heal, to love, and to evolve into a better version of yourself with each day!
Above all, express love, appreciation, and gratitude for your family members. Avoid making thoughtless comments by thinking about what you’re going to say before you say it. Remind yourself that how someone else chooses to live their life, decorate their home, raise their kids, or look after their appearance is none of your business! Stay in your lane, and let your loved ones live their own lives.
May these tips assist you in experiencing greater peace, joy and love this holiday season.