It happens every year around the holidays. Just being around your family makes you feel weary and worn-out. Between the heated conversations about politics to the snide remarks about your cooking skills, we often feel like a child that’s been scolded and shamed.

Even the happiest of us often turn into Scrooge at just the thought of spending the holidays with our crazy, dysfunctional family. We find ourselves lashing out like a teenager with raging hormones- wanting to be heard or needing to be rescued or just wanting to fit in.

But it doesn’t have to be this way this year. It’s the perfect time to practice the art of being ourselves and loving who we are. We can be true to ourselves and have a good time in spite of the craziness going on around us.

It’s important to not have any expectations of perfection and changes from others. Instead, use these 5 tips to guide you for a more enjoyable holiday.

  1. Choose your battles and set boundaries. Don’t let peer pressure suck you into doing something you don’t want to do. Instead stay home. Let everyone in the family know what works for you and what doesn’t. Take a time out if the discussions are becoming too heated for you. Remain an observer as others battle it out to help you stay calm.
  2. Don’t be a victim but don’t blame and judge them either. If feel you need to blame them, do it quietly in another room and write it down. Just don’t give it to them. Instead of complaining or whining about this family member or that one, take 100 percent responsibility for your actions. The most emotionally mature person often sets the tone for the holiday, so be that person.
  3. Stand up for your partner and protect them from family backlash. They are your partner, the one you chose, so be there for them when the family sarcasm starts against them. Remember, they are the one you will be going home with.
  4. Try to understand them. They have their own life, their own values and their own problems they may or may not want to share. Don’t expect the conversations to always be about you either. Take a genuine interest in them and what they have to say.
  5. Love them for who they are. They are your family, and you are a part of them. They just want to feel loved, accepted and a part of the family. It can be difficult to do especially if old wounds and hurts keep rearing its ugly head. Try to get therapy or a guide to help you get over it.
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In the end, the holidays only come around one time a year. Make an effort to be more forgiving and loving during that time.

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