The Importance of Boundaries
This month’s selection of blogs will focus on avoiding holiday minefields. We hope you find them both timely and useful.
You enter this time of year navigating various sets of traditions, which may at times feel like a stunning tightrope act, stretching between sanity and cascading holiday commitments.
You do not have to overbook. You do not have to step out onto the taut wire. You can set important and necessary boundaries for you that help maintain balance, calm, and serenity.
Here are a few tips:
Saying no with kindness
The word “no” is more important than ever, when holiday needs and expectations ramp up and begin forming like an ominous tropical depression off the coast.
You can feel the barometric pressure drop, as wayward invitations toss and swirl about. This is a good time to let loose with the words “no’ or “no thank you,” appreciatively but firmly.
Keep it short. Don’t provide well-meaning but unnecessary explanations. They will only welcome more questions or overtures. Let people experience the soft transparency and clarity of you. That should be all they need.
The difference between asking permission and making a declaration
There’s nothing like a collective family guilt trip or obligatory traditions to reduce you into a stammering, ineffective and impotent child, straining to be heard in the howling wind of familial chatter. This is the time to turn into the teeth of it, to screw up the courage and be your own champion – or find one. If need be, turn to a sibling or trusted friend. It doesn’t always have to rest only on your shoulders.
However, you are an adult. You can walk calmly into the eye of it and make a declarative statement – something to the effect that your road takes you elsewhere for the holidays or for the traditional gathering. Be conciliatory if you can. It may help soften the blow. Tell the matriarch or patriarch, if possible. Otherwise, enlist that sympathetic champion to act as your second or your proxy
The importance of not allowing your company to be for sale
This means try to avoid at all costs falling prey to those who peddle in either rewards or in guilt as forms of subtle and effective manipulation.
You will undoubtedly face many moments of existential crisis or temptation during this upcoming holiday season, most surrounding who will provide the inimitable and sanctified cranberry stuffing, if not you. Don’t buy into it. Don’t be bought.
If you are of a different mind, simply hold steady, hold the line, and don’t walk into the light.
Walk away with dignity, unassailable and comforted in the knowledge that your cranberry stuffing may be missed but was never meant to be exploited. It most certainly has a higher purpose, as do you.
Try to remember boundaries are good and they are fair. They are the building blocks for training your loved ones in a healthy and forward-thinking way – that you are more than a handmaid to prescribed scripts or unyielding habits, even if those pertain to loved and cherished holiday traditions.
For instance, they may see that bucking the rules and breaking the familial chains one year will not end the family/friend traditions but may ultimately strengthen them or give rise to new and even more cherished ones.
Lisa Ryan LPC
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