Deck the Halls with...Boundaries?

Friday, December 14, 2018
You deserve to have a peaceful and joyous holiday! Oftentimes, the holidays can be equal parts joy and stress for many of us, and we feel obligated to engage with our toxic family members or loved ones. Honestly, this isn't just a holiday issue. I'm sure at some point we have all had to deal with the family member that makes inappropriate comments about our weight every time they see us or the mother-in-law that ALWAYS announces that you and your spouse still haven't given her any grandchildren. For some of us, we have to endure familial toxicity (or otherwise intrusiveness) throughout the year for every birthday, holiday or other family gatherings; but, this holiday, I want to share with you a few tips that I have gathered from my own experience over the years that will hopefully be helpful for you as we continue into this holiday season. 

All I Want for Christmas is....
...for YOU to have peace of mind and take care of yourself now and forevermore. [Next to Jesus], your well-being is the most important gift that you can give to yourself and the people you care about; so, practice an extreme amount of self-care this holiday. Don't be afraid to say NO to things that cause you to overextend yourself for the sake of not upsetting your loved ones. This might mean that you decide to spend the holidays in a "non-traditional" way with folks other than your immediate family. This also means remembering that you are not responsible for how your family responds to your new or continued boundaries. 
Make a list and check it twice!
Say what you mean and mean what you say! Make a list of the things you're not willing to discuss or tolerate (like your weight, use of derogatory verbage, questions about your uterus, questions about your relationship status, conversations about unqualified Presidents. you know, the typical stuff) and stick to that list! This will be a comprehensive list of conversations and activities that you are not willing to or comfortable with participating in. Decide what you want/don't want and what you need from your family members in order for your time with them to be positive and delightful. Sidenote: you do not have to print this list and pass it out to every family member at Christmas. just make a mental note for yourself and be prepared if any buttons are pushed. 

Silent Night.
Walk away or just ignore the B.S. I recognize and respect that some people may not feel comfortable with direct and assertive communication or, may not have safe spaces to do so; therefore, you have the right to say everything or absolutely nothing if that is what makes you comfortable. Sometimes, the best method is to say nothing at all - fewer words are often more effective anyway.

Jingle Bells... 
...or ruffle feathers. Chileeee, don't be afraid to stir the pot. Feel empowered to defend yourself or other groups/individuals that you care about! Be firm in setting the boundaries that you made note of (and the ones that you may not consider until you're triggered in conversation). While you implement these boundaries, do not, I repeat, do NOT justify or apologize for the boundaries you are setting.

This Christmas, will be...
Your BEST holiday yet because you are going to choose yourself and your well-being over everything else...with love and grace. Remember that setting boundaries in any relationship is a process and it may take your family some time to adapt to these new lines; so, as long as they are making an honest effort, extend them some grace. 

Sending you love and holiday cheer this season and on, from [part] of my family to your's!


With Blessings & Imperfections,


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Affirmation of the Week

“You have always been a blessed thing, and goodness has no trouble finding you because goodness is what you deserve." – Upile Chisala