How the Gift of Connection Can Help Baby Boomers Reduce
Is the commercialism of the holidays getting you down?
How would you like to spend less time racking up credit
card debt and more time putting heart into your relationships?
It's important to appreciate the tradition of giving
and receiving. But the accumulation of stuff can't hold
a candle to the gift that matters most. This year, recreate
the joy of simpler days by giving the gift of connection
to your family.
There's a lot riding on family time during the holidays
and this can create stress for everyone. With blended
families, there's the challenge of logistics, trying
to accommodate the needs of so many others and still
not compromise your own. And when family members live
in different cities, it's hard to determine which is
more difficult going back home or having them on your
turf. Of course, there are all the memories of holidays
past coupled with the expectations of today - sometimes
unrealistic and often left unfulfilled.
So, how can you get off the couch and into the action?
The following eight tips will help as you develop a
plan to restore balance to your relationships during
- Realize that what you are experiencing is normal
and stress is common for a lot of families at this
time of year.
- If you're traveling home, remember to pack your
patience. Internalized memories or old family dynamics
are bound to surface. Unfinished business, like sibling
rivalry and the need for undivided attention, is baggage
that is often too large to fit in the overhead compartment.
So make a decision this year to leave it behind.
- Explore the possibility of the out of town guests
staying in a hotel. It might be a relief for all of
you, and the beginning of a new family tradition.
- If Aunt Sue doesn't get along with your uncle's
second wife, make it easier on yourself and stagger
- If you get into a conflict with a family member
who is unreasonable, don't take the bait. Despite
how hard it may be, go for the higher ground and walk
- With a relationship that matters to you, take the
time to bury the hatchet. If in the past you have
gone underground and then blown up later, don't let
these feelings fester. Acknowledge the part that you
play and deal with it now, once and for all.
- Whether family members are with you in person or
in your memories, learn the power of letting go of
childhood pain and longings. Forgiveness becomes a
gift for both of you.
- Recall what you love about your family and let them
know how grateful you are to have them in your life.
Try to focus on their positives rather than the negatives.
You may not have many models of repairing the family
and may have to make it up as you go along. Trust yourself
in the process - often the messiness of emotions leads
to understanding yourself and others better. Conflict
can serve as an invitation to grow when you honor the
importance of relationships. Many feel that with family
there are no returns or exchanges, even with a gift
receipt. So embrace the holiday season and rejoice in
the love, support and connection of your family relationships.