41. Surviving the Holidays Around Difficult People

Hello, hello!  Tis the season for love and fun and sometimes craziness.  We’ve had all sorts of crazy at our house lately.  My one daughter tore her ACL and a little bit of her meniscus playing indoor soccer and so she had surgery for it a couple days ago.  The following day I took my other daughter to the doctors and turns out she has influenza A.  Yuck!  Am I right.  So we’re doing all the things here to stay healthy and not get it ourselves.  My oldest son is dealing with some hard issues with the mother of his child and we’re trying to help him through it and my youngest is still working through his mental health as well.  Sprinkle the normal holiday bustle in and we’ve got ourselves a fun month! 

When all the things happen, we can either let them knock us down or believe something great is coming.  I’ve been working on a new master program for my clients to really dive deep on building their own fierce inner love and you know when something great is about to happen, all the negative forces in the universe are going to try and keep it from happening.  So I’m choosing to believe that this program is going to be so good for so many people and I need to just keep working on it until it’s out there.  So keep a look out for it and get on my email list to learn when it drops.  I will be allowing some of my listeners a chance to beta test it at a heavily discounted price and give me input so I can make it even better so keep watching your email for that exciting opportunity.

If you’re not on my email list, what in the world!  You don’t want to miss out on this.  It’s super easy.  Go to myinnerlove.com and scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe.

Okay, on to today’s topic which is pretty timely since the holidays are here, my friends.  At this time of year, people seem to be more generous, they’re happier and they tend to give each other a little more consideration.  It’s easy to catch the spirit of the season when you’re surrounded by people you enjoy spending time with.  However, maybe you know someone who can be somewhat difficult to be around?  This is also the time of year when you’re around more people who you don’t see all that often and it’s possible that’s for a very good reason. 

This is the gift-giving time of year, and I love giving gifts myself, so I’ve got two gifts for you.  The first one is on my website, myinnerlove.com.  It’s a 3-part course on building fierce inner love.  It’s a small introduction to the master class I’m building and it’ll help you build a relationship with yourself and help build your confidence.  It’ll teach you how to overcome the negative opinions you have for yourself and the one’s that others have of you.  Especially the people who really matter to us, because those can be a lot tougher to manage our thoughts around.  This course will teach you how to start living from a place of empowerment.  The best part about this video course is it’s free! I know!  Brilliant!  However, it won’t be free for long so get it now while you can.  This course is also found on my website myinnerlove.com. Just scroll down on the home page to start watching it at your own pace.  Merry Christmas, my friends!  I know you’ll love it!

The second gift I’d like to give you is the gift of love and empowerment for yourself when you’re around people who could be considered difficult.  When you were in school, do you remember taking a course that was difficult, but because it really stretched you, you’re a much better person for it.  Connecting with people who challenge you is a lot like taking a master class in college.  It teaches you to grow in unexpected ways. 

Whether it’s stressed-out partners, rambunctious kids, or extended family or friends who test your patience, the holidays can offer opportunities for relationships to be challenged.  Maybe there’s a lot of tense relationships in your family dynamic that makes celebrating holidays more difficult and a little less enjoyable.  You are not alone and all is not lost. It is still entirely possible to have a fun, memorable holiday season.

First, I’d like you to consider, why do you think other people’s behavior can have such a negative impact on you?   They don’t all do right? Some can be so much fun around, but others, totally not. But it’s the same way how some classes in school can be so enjoyable and some not.  It’s not the class and it’s not the people who are impacting your emotions.  It’s simply because you think they should be different than they are. And maybe you’re right.  

As a mom, I struggled with my kids more and more the closer they got to their teenage years.  I had my expectations of how I wanted them to live their lives and they had their own thoughts about how they wanted to live.  I’d always get frustrated because they wanted all the freedom and none of the responsibility.  But thinking back to when I was a teenager, that idea sounded pretty good to me too!  And really, how great would that be to be able to do whatever you wanted and still have someone take care of you and have no consequences?  As adults we know that’s not realistic because we know that the more freedom we have, that’s accompanied by equal responsibility.

So is it possible that we’re right about our list of expectations that we’d like our kids to learn before they go into the world by themselves. Maybe? I would see this as a good thing.  We know their transition into adulthood would be easier if they did.  At least, that’s what we assume.  But maybe, we’re wrong about that.  Maybe they are living the exact life they need in order for them to learn what’ll have the longest lasting impact.

Why do we think that other people’s behaviors can impact us so much?  When I cared for my newborn children, my first instinct was to do everything I could to make sure their needs were met so they were happy.  I wanted them to be as comfortable as possible by keeping their tummies full, their bottoms dry, and snuggling them to sleep.  As little ones, we rely on our caretakers to take care of our happiness.  I think we all know, the happier baby is, the happier everyone is.

Then we get older and are told that we need to apologize for hurting someone’s feelings.  Compassion for others is a great skill to develop when we’re growing into kind, polite, caring humans.  However, it also leads us to believe that we have control over other’s feelings, and they have control over ours. The best news ever is that you get to choose however you want to feel, regardless of how others are acting around us.

No one has the power to make you feel a certain way.  But we think they do because that’s how we were conditioned to think.  It makes sense that our minds go to the idea that someone else made us feel a certain way, and it’s okay that it does,  as long as we take note that our minds are wrong.  Otherwise, we are handing our power to feel over to anyone.  What someone says and how they act may indeed be hurtful, but it’s because there’s a part of us that believes or questions if what they said is true.  Even if it’s as little as 1 or 2% of our belief.  The reason why it hurts is because we gave those words meaning about ourselves that caused us, in a split second to think, “Maybe they’re right.”  It’s the natural human condition to do this, however, it leaves us thinking we are powerless to do anything about it.  And we want to be the hero of our story, not the victim.

It can be hard to accept that someone else’s behavior has no effect on how you feel because this means it is up to you to do the hard work of managing your own emotions.  The good news is, when you take accountability for your feelings, you don’t have to wait for the other person to change to feel better.  Hold on to your power.  Remind yourself, “I’m choosing to feel (angry, frustrated, resentful) right now.” This small shift in words gives you a big shift in power.

I’m not suggesting that you can’t choose who you will or won’t be around.  What if you don’t want to be around someone who makes it so hard to manage your thoughts?  Ok. It’s up to you to decide when to manage your thoughts versus when to walk away from the relationship.  There are some really good reasons why you would want to walk away.  What if the other person is emotionally abusive?  You can choose to leave the room whenever you need to.  You can choose to leave a relationship whenever you need to.  The only thing that matters is you like your reasons and will be good with your decision tomorrow.  Setting proper boundaries mean that you choose what you will do out of love and respect for yourself without expecting the other person to change.  You get to be who you want, and they get to show up how they want. 

When this person is around, how do you show up?  Pay close attention to how you are acting towards yourself and the offender.  Are you somehow mirroring their behavior or are you acting out of love, respect, and care for yourself and them?  Say someone enters the room and starts to say negative things to you or about you.  Maybe they say, “What are you wearing?” or “having a bad hair day?” So you make some snarky comment back like, “I’m wearing it to prove what a jerk you are.”  Or maybe you overhear her saying something like, “why’d you invite her? She’s always so negative.” So you turn to your friend and say, “What’s the deal with so-and-so?  She’s always so rude.”  This is typical mirroring.  You are rude about their rudeness or negative about their negativity.

To determine if you are mirroring, ask yourself, “How am I feeling?”  If you are feeling any kind of negative emotion, ask yourself, “What am I thinking to feel this way?”  If it’s, “she shouldn’t be acting this way.” Why not?   It’s good to know.  Are you being judgmental about her judging you?  Are you talking about them behind their back?  If you are mirroring or showing up differently than how you would around someone you deeply admire, remind yourself that you’re choosing to feel that way.  You decide if it would be protecting you and showing love and respect for you if you were to leave.  Trust yourself to make the decision that’s right for you.

If you’re wanting to stay in the room and would like to try and manage your thoughts, try to find compassion by attempting to look through their lens.  We each have a different set a lenses that we view life through based on our past experiences.  When someone is acting like a victim or are trying to be manipulative, backbite or passive aggressive, it is because they are insecure and in some way are not meeting their own needs.   What worries them?  What do you think keeps them up at night?  They get to act how they want, but that doesn’t mean they get to choose the consequences.  What has them so afraid to be acting this way?

When you choose compassion, the upside is you are the one who feels compassion.  No matter how angry, hurt, or resentful you feel, you are choosing to feel that, which is completely your right. However, those feeling don’t bounce out of you and into the offender.  The offender has their own thoughts which cause their own emotions.  It’s possible they are feeling empowered at the moment because they see how miserable you are.   What you feel will only affect you and you are the one left feeling it.  Out of love for yourself, choose to feel compassion.

How powerful would it feel to stay in control and showing up exactly how you want, regardless of how someone else is acting?  Difficult people have become a gift that I wasn’t expecting, but each day they are teaching me a little more about myself and who I want to be as I show up in this world.  Choose to be your own hero.  Be the watcher of your thoughts so you can choose how you feel instead of letting your default brain do the choosing.  If it’s overwhelming, step out for a moment and see if there’s a way to look through their life lenses and create compassion inside of you.  If you can’t, at least have compassion for yourself. Remember, we are all 50-50 and half of the4 time, that messy side’s going to show up.  So start practicing compassion for yourself and that’ll help you find more compassion for others.  Don’t’ forget to check out my free three part series on myinnlove.com. May your holidays be fun, safe, and enlightening! Until next time have a brilliant day and remember, you are loved!

If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours.  If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you!  go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.

Related Posts