“Oh my, I see you’ve put on a few pounds.”
“What happened to that guy you were dating?”
“I guess I’ll never get any grand kids.”
Whether from your insensitive aunt, or your doting mother, comments like this can put a damper on being home for the holidays. If you are looking forward to seeing family but at the same time slightly dreading it, don’t worry; that feeling is more common than you think.
Here are a few tips to help you protect your happiness this holiday season so you can enjoy your time with family even more.
Set your boundaries ahead of time.
Remember that you are an adult, not a child. If you’ve had reoccurring boundary issues with a certain family member in the past, consider calling them ahead of time. i.e. Aunt Cheryl, I appreciate your interest in my love life, but I would really appreciate it if you didn’t ask me about it in front of the whole family. This makes me uncomfortable.
Understand the source of the problem.
When grandma pries about your love life, or makes you feel guilty about your ticking biological clock it may be out of pure love and hopefulness that she lives long enough to see great grand kids. It’s not appropriate, but at least take solace in knowing her intentions are out of love. When your over weight Aunt announces to everyone that you look fatter than you did last year, she might just be projecting her own insecurities. In this case, take solace in knowing her inappropriateness really isn’t about you. She has her own issues. Don’t lash back, instead try to be empathetic. Maybe even try giving her a genuine compliment.
As the song goes, “Let’s give them something to talk about.” Your family just wants to be involved in your life. So let them in. Tell them about your new job, new love interest, new apartment or whatever it is YOU want to talk about. Control the conversation by sharing. If you share they won’t need to pry.
Buy yourself a few new holiday outfits. Get your hair and nails done. Do whatever you need to do to look and feel beautiful and confident. When you feel beautiful you project that confidence. When you project confidence you look beautiful. People will be less likely to negatively critique you when you are looking good and giving off good vibes. And if there are still haters that choose to throw shade your way, it’ll be easier to dismiss them if you are feeling good about yourself. 10 Ways to Be More Attractive & Confident
Don’t contribute to the problem
If a cousin or sibling is being ridiculed don’t add to the abuse. Offer them a hand by coming to their defense, offering a compliment or changing the subject entirely.
Don’t be a hater
Don’t allow jealousy to steal your happiness. If your cousin or sister lost weight, got engaged, bought a house and etc. be genuinely happy for them. Relationship Envy: 5 Ways to Avoid it
Stick to your convictions
If weight is your struggle remember this:
You didn’t put on excess weight overnight and thus you won’t lose it overnight. Stick to moderate healthy lifestyle plans rather than get skinny quick fad diets. Don’t add unnecessary stress and disappointment to the holidays by trying to drop 20lbs before visiting relatives. Furthermore, if someone does negatively critique your body image, don’t allow it to derail you from your healthy mindset. Remind yourself that you are on a happy, healthy track and that progress is being made steadily.
If love is your struggle remember this:
It’s better to get married later to the right person, someone who is a true life partner, than to rush it and marry the wrong person.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it a million more times! When Auntie ask you what happened to the guy you were dating, or your mom gripes about grand kids remind yourself of this. The time it takes to marry the wrong person, figure out it was the wrong person, divorce, recover, meet someone new and try again is exponential. It’s so much time! It’s much better to take your time and patiently wait until you meet a true life partner. Trust that marriage is meant for you and that God will deliver when the time is right. Dating Tips for Single Women from a New Mom
If status is your struggle remember this:
You have a plan and it takes time to implement. Maybe you are renting a small modest studio in order to save money to buy a house. Maybe you are interning or working a low paying job to gain experience in a new industry. Maybe you’ve recently left your job to pursue an entrepreneurial adventure. Whatever the case, there is some sacrifice and grind in your journey. Now may not be your season of status flaunting. It’s okay to not have a glamorous home, career, car or other status garnering item right now. If someone else in the family is in the status flaunting stage be happy for them. Also remember that not all that glitters is gold. When status flaunting, people usually only share the glamour of there situation. They don’t detail the grind or sacrifices made to acquire such status. If you knew of their sacrifices you very well might decide you wouldn’t trade pathways with them. Spending too much time in envy of someone’s lifestyle or tangible assets will not only ruin your holiday spirit it may distract and derail you from your life plans, tempting you to take off route short cuts to perceived success.
In my living room hangs three pictures that read the following:
Do more of what makes you happy.
Make it your life.
Not all who wander are lost.
The weekend after I moved across the country with a new husband and new job I purchased these signs from the local Bed, Bath and Beyond. They serve as a daily reminder that my life is my own. My everyday choices are just that, my choices. Life isn’t a race to the alter, a beauty contest, or a competition to acquire the most stuff. You are not your job title, your bank account balance, your passport stamps, or your Instagram story. Life is a journey filled with daily choices. We are the only ones that solely experience our lives and we are the only ones solely capable of making our lives happy. So make your experience one that you value, one that makes you happy even if that means it won’t be glamorous, skinny, white picket fenced, or Facebook friendly at all times. Be proud of the choices you make that bring you happiness and enjoy them without comparison, without explanation or apology.
I hope that you enjoy this holiday season with friends and family and that you are able to experience it with lots of confidence and happiness. Happy Holidays!