Family gatherings can be very enjoyable but often create stress, especially if Uncle George, who embarrassed you when you were 5, or Aunt Anita, who judges you for not having a real career, will be there. On top of that, your stress level might already be high just from trying to make it a perfect event for everybody, spending all that time preparing.
Whether it’s the holidays, being away on vacation, or any other form of togetherness, there are some simple things you can do to survive family gatherings.
Read the ideas below first. Don’t skip that part! Only after reading and understanding the purpose behind the mantras, use them as your guidelines to not only survive, but perhaps even enjoy family gatherings.
10 Mantras to Help you Survive Family Gatherings
- My happiness is my highest priority.
- I accept responsibility for my reactions.
- I enjoy the present moment, no matter what.
- When I say no to others, I say yes to myself.
- What other people think of me is none of my business.
- I choose love and forgiveness.
- I choose to listen with compassion.
- They are doing the best they can right at this moment.
- Considering the circumstances, I’m doing the best I can.
Spending a lot of time with family often brings to the surface the character defects or faults of other people, and we automatically adopt the role of trying to fix them or change them, especially if we care about them. A better way to help you survive family gatherings is to shift your focus from trying to fix or change other people to making yourself happy.
You might think that other people push your buttons and disturb your peace, but the reality is that you are not responsible nor do you have any control over other people’s actions. You can only change your reaction. When you recognize that you are blaming another person for making you unhappy, check your reaction and ask yourself how you can react from a higher level.
Another habit that might be preventing you from enjoying time with family members is focusing on the past or the future. You might become nostalgic and recall memories of past events, asking yourself, why can’t it be the same now? You might get worried about your loved one, wondering what will happen to them in the future. You want to survive family gatherings? Make a commitment to enjoy the moment, not allowing anything or anyone to get in your way.
One of the most important tips to help you survive family gatherings is setting boundaries. As a person who was always a people pleaser, I can tell you that setting boundaries is a skill that can be learned and improved. You can say no in a kind way, and even if it doesn’t come across so kindly, there are times when you have to take care of yourself and not give your energy or power away. When you take better care of yourself, you can be in better service of others.
When I think about times where it was hard for me to survive family gatherings, I remember trying really hard to be liked. I gave power to other people’s opinions, neglecting my own inner voice. Stay in your power and let your inner voice guide you. Stop making other people’s opinions more important than yours.
Spending a lot of time with family members naturally can bring some resentment, and before we know it our sense of inner peace is disturbed. A quick way to shift to love and forgiveness is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, to come up with some reasons why they behave the way they do and to take it less personally. Chanting “I choose love and forgiveness” will help you shift your attitude and release the resentment.
There are 2 parts to this mantra: the first is the intention to listen. The second is the intention to bring compassion. In order to survive family gatherings, plan to talk less and to listen more. Ask questions and listen to what people have to say. Really listen! Stay away from judgment by practicing compassion.
Finding compassion in your heart will allow you to shift your attitude positively. Then you can forgive the person and remind yourself that they have stuff going on – their experiences, their beliefs, their fears – that are causing them to behave the way they do. This mantra is a very powerful one to help you shift from resentment to forgiveness.
Not only do you want to be compassionate towards other people, you also want to bring compassion and forgiveness into your own being. For example, let’s say that you haven’t been the politest and kindest person while having a conversation with Uncle George or Aunt Anita. Give yourself a break! Remind yourself that considering the circumstances, you did the best you could.
I’ve shared with you 9 concepts, each supported with a mantra. Now it’s your turn. Create the 10th mantra, whatever you need to remember to survive family gatherings, and share it in the comment area. Can’t wait to hear your ideas!