Navigating Family Conflict This Holiday Season

Navigating family conflict (and community conflict) is a challenge during a pandemic. I know, I know… people are irrational. Fear during this pandemic period plagues the ability to see, behave and respond in way that supports good human relations. It’s them, their thinking, and their radical decisions that have your knickers in a knot, right? Or wait… is it you that gets entangled with their lack of common sense? Who knows who’s right, and it isn’t even about ‘right or wrong’ anyway; it just is what it is. Stressful, frustrating, offensive, inconvenient, irrational, and it conflicts with your opinion.

Honest communication will help you deal with feelings as they arise. Don’t hold onto difficult conversations about the holidays when it comes to your choices, fears or decisions. Have them now. Be confident that your opinions matter, take a stand in what you feel comfortable with, affirm yourself and know that ‘this too shall pass’.

The fact is that Christmas will be different this year. Radical acceptance will be your best ally. You may be uncomfortable going along with the family plan to gather, or you may be grieving the loss of traditions of Christmas’s past. The one common denominator is that we are all grieving something taken from us, and if we can accept this, and forge ahead with something new we will be far less stressed.

Know that you’re allowed to say no. Kindly saying ‘no’ is a good skill to practice. You don’t even have to justify your reasoning. Here’s an example, “I am not comfortable traveling or visiting this year for our typical family traditions. I look forward to next year already.”

‘Tis the season to make new traditions. Enjoy this great pause and the simple pleasures that we too often overlook as being simply magical.

Merry Christmas and/or, happy holidays of your faith and customs.

Wishing you a wonderful season.