The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year because much of the focus is on helping others and offering support. When watching TV or listening to the radio in the car we hear story after story about how we can help others who are struggling and examples of what many organizations like the Salvation Army are doing to support families. It made me wonder why we don’t live in this mind set throughout the year by practicing kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
The holidays can be a very hectic and stressful time in many families because often three or more generations will gather; parents, adult children, adult siblings and grandchildren, etc. This is often when old wounds will fester up and judgement rules.
What would happen if you decided to do it differently this year? As Oprah often says, “This I know to be true” and this I know to be true for me. Most of the issues I’ve had with people in my life are the result of people not behaving or acting the way that I wanted. Today, do I always practice not wanting to control other’s behavior? Absolutely not, but I recognize it sooner and adjust my behavior. I bet there are a few of you reading this that will be saying, “me too”
My parent coaching clients are often very hard on themselves and believe they are a total failure as parents if they are not parenting effectively 100 percent of the time which is totally unrealistic. We all mess up and get messy that is just a part of life and others often don’t behave like we want. But, what we can change is how we respond toward ourselves and others. We can be more kind, compassionate and forgiving. Try out these suggestions to have holiday love throughout the year:
- When you make a mistake, especially with your children, acknowledge it and make amends. Remember you are the role model for your children in helping them learn how to navigate life in a healthy way.
- Be grateful for having a family (as imperfect as they are) and let each member know how much you care about them. Don’t have regrets, particularly with your parents, about letting people know how much you love them until its too late. Reflect on who isn’t with you during the holidays and what you wish you could have said to them and say those things to the people who are there.
- Give your spouse, partner, siblings, parents and other family members the grace and forgiveness you want your children to give you. Everyone is doing the best they know how.
- Acknowledge you have no control over other people, only yourself and how you respond to those around you. Will you respond with anger, judgement, defensiveness or pouting? Or will you choose to respond with kindness, compassion and forgiveness; it’s up to you.
Here’s to holiday love throughout the year!!