I often think that the reason people are so eager to celebrate New Year’s Eve is not so much because it presents a fresh opportunity to create a preferable future, but because it signifies the end of the holiday season! For many, “TGIF” stands for “Thank God It’s Finished!”
I know I sound like the Scrooge, but beginning at Thanksgiving and continuing all the way through Christmas, we eat too much, spend too much, and – okay, I’ll be the one to say it – we spend way too much time with our families! It’s no wonder we drink heavily on New Year’s Eve! By the time the ball drops in Times Square, we’re often eligible for “The Biggest Loser,” TV show, a government bailout and a long stay at the funny farm.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that over the past few months I’ve been describing a number of commitments that are essential to experiencing authentic intimacy. I’m continuing that here in this blog, but because it’s the holiday season, I’m broadening my comments to address all relationships, intimate or otherwise. One of the primary sources of holiday stress results from our interactions with our immediate and extended families.
One Simple Shift Can Do the Trick
If you want this holiday season to be blessed and not stressed, I invite you to make one simple shift in the way you communicate – stop criticizing and start appreciating. As simplistic as it sounds, this shift will bring astounding results, even if you and your family have experienced drama for years.
The shift happens in two stages. The first is to completely eliminate criticism, blame and name-calling from your vocabulary. Don’t worry about what anyone else says and does – they will probably continue to show up and do the same things they have in the past. Instead, put your attention on what comes out of your mouth. No judging, gossiping, condemning, guilt-tripping, shaming or “should”-ing. In other words, eliminate all forms of negative communication from your interactions this holiday season.
The second half of the shift is to fill your family members’ ears with words of appreciation, gratitude, praise, admiration, approval and gratefulness. Make a conscious effort to verbally appreciate each and every member of your family. Overlook your past hurts and grievances. Let them go. See through their quirks and annoying habits and recognize them for who they truly are. They are made in the image of God (as are you), and if you can let go of the past, you will discover that there is much to appreciate about them.
If you want a holiday season that is blessed and not stressed, no matter how much you think your family members don’t deserve it, end criticism and lavish them with abundant appreciation. Then stand back and watch you and your entire family be transformed right before your very eyes.
About the Author
Roy Biancalana is an author, life coach and former PGA Tour player. You can reach Roy for advice by contacting him through email, his website or by phone…