Tis the season for family time! Whether you love your inner circle completely, find them to be a challenge or dread family gatherings all together, this post will give you suggestions and a shift in perspective as you head into the holiday’s. 

Storybooks and movies can imply that the holidays are meant to be joyous occasions free of conflict, drama or disheartening feelings. Unless it’s Meet the Fockers. None the less, people are people and oftentimes conflict can’t be avoided or controlled.

What can be controlled is what you choose to engage in and your experience. This is about your mental health and wellbeing after all. 

Choose your own experience

When a relative wants to engage you in a conversation that is less desirable to you, then don’t engage. Choose not to engage. This can be especially applicable if it’s a topic that you don’t agree on and one could lead to a disagreement or argument. Instead, say that you’d rather not talk about said topic or consciously choose to kindly listen to their thoughts then leave it at that. 

My family often asks my opinion about the current state of affairs. Although, they already know my general position, these topics are continuously evolving. Usually, I will share my general thoughts then ask them theirs. I listen, and follow up with a general comment like, “that’s interesting,” or “hm, good to know.” If I feel like engaging further, I will ask a question to expand or one that fills my curiosity. If I choose to not engage any further, I change the topic.

If the controversial topic isn’t going to teach me something or offer positivity then I’m out before it escalates. This is for my own good and the experience that I want to have. We get to choose our own experience. During the holiday’s, I like to choose an experience that is free of unnecessary conflict.

Yes, we all can feel  and be self-righteous at times. The need to prove our case or be justified by our thoughts.  That you are right and they are wrong. However, most people who have different opinions and thoughts don’t want to hear it. Even with supporting and factual information, they still may not want to hear it.

Since this is a topic about your mental health, it often isn’t worth it to push your thoughts, feelings and opinions on someone who may or may not be ready to hear them. 

When I say it isn’t worth it, I mean, it’s not worth your own internal peace.

We can only hear what we are ready and willing to hear.

Keep into consideration that the other person is having their own experience with their own thoughts, feelings and emotions. You too are having your own experience with your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Your experience is the only one that you can control. So, if you don’t want to engage in a topic, don’t engage. Be the peacekeeper for the time being. 

The holidays are meant to be a time of ease, joy, laughter and good food. So, let them be. 

Yes, in a way I am suggesting that you put parts of yourself aside and play nice. Isn’t that worth more than engaging in drama, angst and disheartening comments? 

The choice is yours. When you leave that situation and those people, it’s over and you’ll carry your experience and they will carry theirs. At times, it can feel a whole lot lighter to carry dignity than righteousness.

As always, stay curious, 

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Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page. 

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