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Handling the inevitable stress, tension, and disappointment of holiday gatherings…

It’s a scenario that plays out across the globe every holiday season. 

Families come together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. 

But how long does the celebration last before someone gets their feelings hurt and walks off to sulk in another room?  How long before an argument starts?  How long before the vibration at the gathering changes from celebration to stress and tension? 

How many times have you left a family gathering thinking to yourself (or even complaining out loud): “Why do we do this every single year?  Was that fun?” 

Why do family gatherings seem destined to be miserable? 

Well, in a nutshell, the answer is logic/beliefs/conditioning. 

Every single person at the holiday gathering has their own set of memories based on past experiences (i.e., logic/beliefs/conditioning) about what holiday gatherings are “supposed” to be like and their own set of expectations about what this year’s gathering “should” be like. 

Everyone’s memories, perspective, and expectations are DIFFERENT.  And, to make matters worse, they are based on past experiences that can’t be recreated and are guaranteed to be distorted. 

It is impossible to recreate the past because every person involved has changed over time.  You are not the same person now that you were then and neither are they. 

It is impossible to satisfy everyone’s expectations – IMPOSSIBLE – so on some level, everyone is guaranteed to be disappointed.  And what is the answer for MOST people when they are disappointed or have shattered expectations? 

They blame other people for, complain about, and/or justify their hurt feelings to anyone who will listen.  And so it begins; you or a family member get upset, and one or both of you start feeling guilty for ruining Christmas! 

So what do you do?  Swear off every family gathering in an all out effort to protect your positive vibration?  Cancel the holiday?  Justify why you should settle for being miserable? 

No!  Of course not! 

Now that you are aware of what is at play, you can adjust your approach at gatherings to make sure you have the best time possible, while managing the expectations of the people you are chatting with. 

Your job is to protect your vibration at all costs, so here are some ideas that will help do that: 

1.    Schedule some “me” time during the holidays, even if it is just going for a walk or going to the gym for a workout.   

2.    Focus on all the good that is in your life right now and all that is on its way to you.   

3.    Go back to the No Complaining/Blaming/Justifying Challenge.  If you find yourself going negative, try to turn your mindset around.  If you can’t, then leave.  If you can’t leave, then leave mentally (use affirmations, visualization, etc.) 

4.    You are not responsible for meeting everyone’s expectations, so don’t play that game.  Only take responsibility for your own attitude and vibration. 

5.    Do not accept guilt when people are disappointed. 

Now, what WON’T work is to try to explain this memory/perspective/expectation phenomenon to your family members.  They won’t get it and it will likely just make the situation worse.  So focus on yourself. 

You can best serve everyone involved, including yourself, by doing whatever it takes to stay positive. 

Your mission this holiday season is to protect your vibration and FEEL BETTER NOW! 

Happy Holidays!  Now, go enjoy yourself! 

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