Family get-togethers, while joyous and full of love, can also be a stressful time as everyone tries their best to get along. Whether it’s for a holiday, a birthday, or any other happy occasion, we may find ourselves spending a lot of time with people holding very different ideas from our own. While our intentions are to come together in love and to have an enjoyable time together, what can we do when dealing with certain challenging family members or situations?
Begin by knowing, you are not alone in this feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed. Many of us are most sensitive when being around close family, as we tended to create our own rules for interacting with one another while growing up, some healthy and some not so healthy. Emotional boundaries can be ignored and overlooked, and while some have grown and changed, others may want to still want to behave together as they did in the past. Getting irritated with each other can happen, and it’s important to know how we can return to a state of inner love and peace and to be able to keep things peaceful between each other.
One of the most important things we can do is to take responsibility for the things we can personally control, and to accept the things we cannot control. You may need to shift your mindset about a situation or a person in order to find peace. We usually can’t change someone else’s behavior or even control every situation we are in, so keep this in mind to avoid any unnecessary frustration.
Simple Practices that Bring Peace
So what can you do to make stressful times with challenging people more bearable? Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Take Time For Yourself
We can’t pour from an empty cup. If you feel run down and stressed, it’s difficult to take care of things or the people you love. It is important during any busy or stressful time in our lives to not stop doing the things that are good for us, whether that be exercising, reading, doing our daily meditations, taking that long soak in the tub, or just spending time alone, away from all the chaos.
Remember to continue doing these things that nourish us, especially while spending prolonged periods of time around those who test us. So make sure you build this into your busy schedule, the peace you will gain from it is much needed during stressful times.
2. Take Things Less Personally
In ordinary situations, when experiencing someone’s less than kind behavior towards ourselves, it’s helps to understand that; “that comment has nothing to do with me, that person must just be having a tough day.” If we can take a moment to think outside of ourselves we realize that everyone has their own stressful issues they’re dealing with, and the turmoil they are under can make them act in rude, disrespectful ways. When someone is disrespectful or rude to me I always think in my mind before reacting, “They must be under a lot of stress right now and their behavior likely has nothing to do with me. What can I do to bring love into this situation?” This thought makes me gently smile at them rather than acting out of frustration, and if they continue to be rude, I can simply walk away. If you’re in a small house together, simply take a short walk to clear the air, or listen to some peaceful music in your room alone and return after things have calmed down.
Honestly, we never truly know what someone else is going through, which is why we should be kind always. With this mindset shift, we can learn not to take negative behaviors as personal attacks, but as indications of the inner turmoil the other person is suffering from. Our emotions will remain calm, which will help us maintain our peaceful day.
3. Ask Yourself, “What is this person/ situation supposed to teach me?”
Instead of “why is this happening to me?” try a mind shift and ask yourself, “what is this supposed to teach me?” By doing this, we are empowered, and can gain insights into the situation and also into ourselves, learning how to handle the situation and how to personally respond in the best manner possible.
While we can’t always control everything outside of ourselves, we can always seek to understand it, improve our response to it, and we can truly gain peace in even the most stressful of situations.
4. Know Your Limits
Whether it’s with people or situations, it is important to know what you can and cannot tolerate, and to respect your own personal boundaries. If you have to attend a work function for example, but do not really want to be there for too long, then attend it, it is perfectly okay to limit your time. A “2 hour rule” in regards to any get together with coworkers or even with certain family members is okay and can be healthy if it helps you take care of you. This can help keep one at peace inside, knowing that we only need to attend for 2 hours, and are also not neglecting her obligation to coworkers or family.
There is nothing wrong with saying no to get-togethers that you are not obligated to attend, either. But if you find yourself around difficult people, try to steer the conversation to positive topics, or simply excuse yourself and walk away. We have every right to respect our own personal boundaries when it comes to navigating social situations.
5. Be An Example Of Respect And Kindness
Remembering that everyone has their own issues, and maybe going through something very difficult in their own lives, we should always model respect and kindness toward others. It makes us feel better to come from a place of joy, and it may also just turn someone’s day around and contribute to them being respectful and kind as well. When we communicate and express ourselves from a place of love, from a place of peace, and with the right intentions, we spread goodness into the world and that ripples out in beautiful ways. You never know the countless number of lives you may change through your one act of kindness, and it’s likely those you are kind to will at some point remember it and choose to be kind to others.
If you can try to remember to practice these 5 ways to find your peace around challenging people or situations, you will find the world around you shifting for the better. The amazing thing is, the world will not have changed at all, but you and your response will have changed, and that can make all of the difference.
Be kind always, to yourself, and to those around you.
You are Loved