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How to Deal with Dreaded Family Gatherings

The holidays are almost upon us and those dreaded family gatherings highlight how vulnerable we still are to criticism and the old prescribed roles we act out. Recently, I did a TV Show about managing stress-filled holiday gatherings and most of the program was devoted to callers-in seeking strategies for dealing with belligerent and stubborn family members. Some were traveling across the country and at great expense, yet afraid of disappointment. Clearly, it wasn't going to be jingle all the way.

If we want to reconnect with feuding family, or desire to try even harder to get along because we feel cut adrift without our parents, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren - our genetic legacy, then we must perceive these gatherings for what they really are: learning experiences. We can't change where we came from. However, we can change where we are going. Since early childhood, we learned how to get along by sharing. For when we share with others, we truly give to ourselves! However, many of us are stingy with compassion and forgiveness when it comes to our own family members and therefore we do not feel good about ourselves.

Part of the problem is that we feel selfish and entitled! People have to speak to us a certain way, give us gifts that we evaluate and measure and then there are our lofty expectations. "Okay, so we want compliments and respect. What's wrong with that?" Absolutely, nothing, as long as we return the favor!

So, don't lecture your brother that he has spoiled his children. Instead, take your nieces and nephews with you to do some volunteer work. Actions speak louder than words and you can establish a new family holiday ritual. The children will feel enriched and special.

So, you are still overweight and cringe at the thought of dodging comments like, "Should you be having a piece of pecan pie, dear?" Your weight doesn't define who you are. Simply smile and say, "Yes, human beings are not creatures of deprivation. I would like to celebrate with you and feel deliciously happy with a small slice of pecan pie."

If you plan on attending family gatherings, here are some suggestions to transform them from prison riots into joyous celebrations:
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, and a personal trainer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB 1240AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com



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This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.



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