There’s a lot riding on family time during the holidays and this can create stress for Sandwiched Boomers. There’s the challenge of trying to accommodate so many others’ needs and still not compromise your own. Of course, there are the ghosts of holidays past, coupled with the expectations of today – sometimes unrealistic and often unfulfilled. Try the following tips:
1. If you get into a conflict with a family member who is unreasonable, don’t take the bait. Despite how hard it may be, go for the higher ground and walk away.
2. With a relationship that matters to you, take the time to bury the hatchet. If in the past you have gone underground and then blown up later, don’t let these feelings fester. Acknowledge the part that you play in the conflict and deal with it now, once and for all.
3. Whether family members are with you in person or in your memories, learn the power of letting go of childhood pain and longings. Forgiveness becomes a gift for both of you.
4. Recall what you love about your family and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life. Point out their positives qualities rather than focusing on the negatives.
Perhaps you don’t have many models for repairing the family and may have to make it up as you go along. Trust yourself in the process – often the messiness of emotions leads to understanding yourself and others better. Conflict can serve as an invitation to grow when you honor the importance of relationships. A lot of people feel that, with family, there are no returns or exchanges even with a gift receipt. So embrace the holiday season and rejoice in the love, support and connection of your family relationships.