Navigating the Holidays: Tools for Tolerance, Acceptance, and Positive Relationships
The holidays can be a tough time of year. Family is coming over, and you might feel excited, anxious, nervous, or everything at once. Take a deep breath—you’re not alone! You have yourself, and you have tools and skills to handle this holiday season.
Differences in beliefs, identities, and ways of life can seem like obstacles during the holidays. We all have different perspectives and ideas to share. The best way to handle the holiday season is to be patient and understanding with others. When you feel overwhelmed by a family member or the holiday itself, take a moment to sit with your feelings. It might not always seem like the easiest thing but try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Try to think of how they see things. This helps you learn not just about their experiences, but also about their values. You might know your family’s values, but do you accept them? If you don’t accept them, think of how you can find other ways to connect with your family.
Acceptance is a hard, but an important tool in life. Think about accepting things out of your control—like losing $50, getting a flat tire, or breaking a bone. The situation is hard but you can accept that it happened and move on. The same goes for relationships. While not all relationships are the same, using understanding someone else’s situation can be eye-opening. For instance, if a mother and daughter don’t agree because of their individual decisions, they can take turns explaining their thoughts and feelings in a positive way. This creates a sense of equal emotions, allowing progress in the relationship. It’s important to know that you do not need to agree to accept. Being different is what makes us human. How we navigate those differences is what makes for healthy relationships.
It’s not always easy to keep emotions from taking over in difficult relationships and situations. In these cases, be sure of yourself first. You have every right to be yourself, just as the other person does. Use tolerance to prevent confrontation and instead show positive behavior. Acceptance plays a role here too. Accept that both parties have different views to aid in the emotional healing process. When the conflict leaves both your desires and the relationship, growth can happen.
This practice can be hard, but it’s not about confrontation. It’s about respecting yourself and your family by using acceptance. Accepting yourself and others lets you use your logical mind over your emotional mind. Decisions become easier, communication improves, and positive memories are made. Through this communication, barriers are removed and common ground can be found during the holidays.