Let’s say you find a sibling, an in-law or some other family member you have in the past found particularly irritating; maybe you disagree with their values, politics, religion, or their lack of filters (e.g. when they drink). Now let’s say you only see them once or a few times a year, like during the Holidays. After the Holidays are over, you will not see them again for a long time.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a way to make sure that, almost no matter what they did or said, it didn’t really bother you, either in the moment or later on? Here’s a thought: pay attention to what they do only in terms of how it directly affects you, and pay little or no attention to who you think they are, or more importantly, who you wish they were or think they should be. I guarantee you will be far less likely to become upset, say or do something you later regret.
Even if you do or say nothing in response to the sometimes irritating behavior of certain family members, if you go into the Holidays with this attitude, you will have a more relaxed, peaceful and enjoyable time. Know who they are, why they irritate you, expect it’s coming. Then choose in advance to accept them as they are. Don’t be shy about standing your ground if they say or do something that encroaches on your integrity or self-respect. Other than needing to standing your ground when you absolutely must, though, pick your battles, and mostly pick the choice not to have a battle, let it go, accept them as they are, knowing you will be dealing with them for a short time and all will be well in a few hours or days, until you see them next time, which is a long ways off. You can then enjoy yourself now and not let yourself worry about having to deal with them next time.
Copyright 2013, Michael Kinzer. Blog entries and other materials available on Jupiter Center’s website are only intended to stimulate thoughts and conversations and to supplement therapy work with Jupiter Center clients already in therapy. If you or someone you know suffers from a mental illness, you are strongly encouraged to seek help from a mental health professional. For further information about this blog, or Jupiter Center, contact Michael Kinzer at 612-701-0064 or michael(at)jupitercenter.com.