The holidays can be such a stressful time, especially for us women. We have presents to buy, houses to decorate, food to cook, parties to plan and Family That Visit!!! The holidays can put even the most amiable family members at odds, and it is a great time to model boundaries to our children. We teach people how to treat us. Our children watch how others treat us and learn what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Boundaries are about what others cannot do to you or around you, and how much what they do hinders your space. When it comes to boundaries, families seem to be the worst offenders. We do and say things to our families that we would never say to a friend. Why is that? I had a conversation with some extended family members last Thanksgiving. One of the siblings (out of five), had done some pretty nasty things to another one…really nasty. The sibling whose boundaries had been violated said with a sad look on their face, “Well they are family. Nothing is more important than family.” While the sentiment may be true for most people, that doesn’t mean that those same people that are so important to you can walk all over you. If Great Uncle Ted is an obnoxious drunk at Christmas, have a powerful conversation with him and tell him that he is welcome in your home only if he stays sober. If your Mom has a pattern of being critical and making comments to you about your home or your cooking have a powerful conversation with her and tell her that that you Love her but her comments are demeaning and hurt you. When it comes to family we are so afraid to speak up for ourselves but definitely not afraid to speak out against others.
My holiday challenge to you is – If there is a situation around the holidays that makes you uncomfortable, or worse fills you with dread, make a game plan right now and eliminate it (whatever that means to you…and I don’t mean taking Uncle Bob out and making him disappear). Take a look at the situation and decide what works for you. Stand up for what you value and for yourself. The holidays can really be the most peaceful time of year…if we let them.