Thursday, December 17, 2009

Taking off the Gloves

The Holidays can be really conflict-ridden and this year, I thought I'd FOR ONCE cleared the hurdle and not gotten in any heated incidents on the homefront, but alas, we didn't quite escape.

With the pressure of two birthdays and the holidays to plan, my daughter and I had an argument the night before her birthday. I must say though, we resolved it and all is well now.

Still, I am convinced that holidays lend themselves especially to conflict because they often involve typical stress-producing landmines such as: 1) time deadlines; 2) inflated expectations, 3) mix up in communication due to the frenzy of rushing around trying to meet those inflated expectations; and last but not least, 4) taking whatever miscommunication that occurs personally and overreacting to whatever slight the other person may or may not have intended.

There are also a few communication bugaboos that OFTEN get us in trouble in communicating with others, regardless of what time of year we use them.

NEVER/ALWAYS - these words seem to create a negative climate with ourselves and others. And plus they just aren't true. When was the last time you ALWAYS or NEVER experienced anything? They are exaggerations at best; at worst, they often lead to judgmental statements and views of another person, and they make the whole situation seem hopeless.

SHOULD - this points the finger and gives other people added things on THEIR "to do" list which can create a real blow up. Regardless of whether you are "shoulding" all over yourself or someone else, it only adds emotional pressure and doesn't help performance one iota.

You Statements - Saying, "You did this to me", instead of motivating change in another, often creates defensiveness and hostility. Instead, use "I" statements, since you can really only know what's going on inside your own head and not anyone else's.

In summary, to survive the holidays:

Don't take things personally.

Don't expect too much.

Keep it simple.

If you or anyone else has a holiday meltdown, forgive and forget as soon as possible.


Rebecca said...

thank you for such wonderful insight and wisdom-filled words! :)
Have a very very Merry Christmas free of any other landmines :)

Kim S. said...

Chelle, thanks for those wise reminders! I hope to keep them in mind as we travel to visit our families this week.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday with your family!