Do you dread the holiday season because you have to spend time with family members who embarrass you and spark confrontation? You are not alone. While this fact does not present much comfort, you might be happy to learn that some people actually possess the knowledge to sail right through Thanksgiving to Christmas and have fun.
If your past is always present, you haven’t worked through your relationship issues. While you are wondering, “Is it me, or is it them?” here is an arsenal of strategies which are quickly learned and surprisingly easy to implement. In fact, these foolproof relationship builders can help you throughout the year with colleagues, clients and friends.
10 ways to build bridges rather than blow ups:
- Don’t actualize your own negative prophecy like you are gunning for a particular family member, subconsciously pushing their button, so that he or she can annoy you. Don’t look for subtle ways to bring out their worst, so that you can say, “See, I knew it!” Instead bring your good feelings with you.
- Don’t let idealisms of family gatherings mess around with your reality. If you are expecting the perfect family reunion, think Bill Cosby! The notion of perfection will inevitably rob you of reality-based, simple and basic pleasures.
- Preempt a verbal strike with a compliment. Who doesn’t love a compliment? Change the energy without taking the low road to belittle their comments or suggestions.
- Don’t get verbally ambushed. Prepare witty, cute or factual responses to the typical critical remarks.
- Keep your stress levels balanced before you open the door. This means eating a little beforehand; exercising to squeeze out any anger, resentment or animosity; meditating or taking a walk outdoors to restore your natural rhythm. Stay centered.
- Why try to understand the nature of their reality when it is more productive to create the nature of reality. Skew your perception to the positive.
- Fortify your self-concept. Create a one-line description of what you are doing now as though you are preparing for an interview.
- Don’t fall into the trap of judging them based on the assumption that they should be like you.
- Shore up your conversation weaknesses. This means if you talk too much, make a point of being quieter and listen better. If you don’t talk enough, practice conversation starters.
- Lean in as opposed to pulling away, open your heart as opposed to blocking it and look into their eyes to focus on them during a conversation.
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