No matter how much you and your family love each other, is there too much drama in your relationships? Are you feeling exhausted and emotionally drained, tired of all the yelling, tearing each other down, blaming, and accusing? Is it sometimes worse during the holidays?
You’ve probably heard the saying that we frequently treat strangers better than we treat our loved ones. Why are we all so willing to hurt those we care about most, but we’ll put people we barely even know on some kind of pedestal?
We are so driven by the need to be accepted that we often let that define our behavior. As humans, we are pack animals—we thrive in groups, so the thought of not fitting in is terrifying.
Should we stop treating strangers, acquaintances, or friends so well? Of course not. What we should do is encourage our family members to treat each other differently.
Behavior is about choice, as much as we may not want to believe that. “Well, you know how I get when I’ve had a hard day – I can’t help it, I just lash out.” Nope. That doesn’t fly; it’s simply an excuse.
Whether we feel disrespected, frustrated, or let down again, our reaction to the issue is under our control.
We may not be able to stop our brains from going into the red zone, but we can stop hateful things from coming out of our mouths. We can excuse ourselves so we can go calm down and get the quiet we need.
We can even ask the other person, in a non-accusatory tone, what happened to keep them from doing what they said they would. Maybe a real issue came up and they just couldn’t get to it. Or maybe they accidentally forgot, feel terrible about it, and will fix the situation as soon as possible.
Think about it logically: what sense does it make to hurt the people who constantly work hard to love and support us, who genuinely accept us for who we are, who devote great portions of their lives and hearts to us—and vice versa?
Take it a step further: what does it cost us to be better to the people we love?
What does it take away from us to assume we are all doing our best and not actively trying to hurt or disappoint each other? What would it hurt if we stopped to wonder if the other person had a hard day, too?
If anything, we need more compassion from and for our loved ones than what we freely give away to others.
Let’s all work together to put effort into nourishing our most important relationships instead of allowing taking each other for granted.
Take a moment to remember what you love most about the people closest to you. Try and hold that in your heart all the time, especially when you get angry or frustrated. Giving people the benefit of the doubt can have tremendous results. When we stop attacking each other, there is room for compassion and tenderness to grow.
If you’d like some more tips on dealing with stress during the holidays, join me for my upcoming FREE teleseminar: Tips for Managing Holiday Frenzy. CLICK HERE to learn more!