Surviving a family get-together may seem impossible, especially considering the complex history that goes along with relationships, marriages, divorces, births, and other family issues. Making any family gathering a positive experience takes mental discipline. You need to make an effort to manage your emotions until they run smoothly and on automatic. Here’s how to walk away feeling positive from holidays, weddings, and Sunday dinners:

Know Your Three Biggest Flashpoints

Before you agree to host a get-together, know that entertaining can set off an unexpected barrage of old emotional baggage and unpleasant memories Entertaining relatives is more likely than anything else to bring up unpleasant family issues. Even though we have busy lives, we feel obligated to be perfect hosts for our families, who might not even appreciate our efforts. Your home is your energy sphere. When you believe your hospitality is a demonstration of who you are and is a reflection of all the wonderful parts of you, you have nothing to prove or hide.

We often include a set of expectations when we host a family get-together because we think we can win over or change family members who are ungrateful or simply choose not to like us. Having unrealistic expectations for a family gathering may be another flashpoint, especially when some family members are judgmental. It’s likely that hosting the family holiday party is not going to change anyone, so it’s best to choose to have a happy and open heart. Check any old, outdated emotional baggage at the door before anyone arrives. Stay centered. Their lack of gratitude or grace is not a reflection of you as long as you project love and joy. Didn’t win over your in-laws? You are stronger for being generous, and know your generosity will manifest in other ways. Learn to thank yourself for being the amazing person you are.

Being the maverick of the family, the one who has always walked off the beaten path, can make you sensitive to comments at family get-togethers. If we choose a different life than our parents led, or are not liked by other established family members, or we’re the new kid on the block who doesn’t fit the mold, family members with bad manners will just go ahead and comment anyway. It’s best to have a good attitude and show your positive side. Remember, others perceive you the way you perceive yourself. Love your unique space in humanity and stop making apologies. Be kind to everyone. Know you fit beautifully in the divine plan and that your presence is a valuable gift to the world, including your family. When you are comfortable and at ease with yourself and know your own life works perfectly for you, your ease will rub off on everyone at the party or dinner.

Focus on Today

Since family dynamics usually make us intimate with each other’s lives, it is difficult to separate the past from the present and accept people for who they are in the present moment. Family histories are intertwined, and we go through many stages of personal and spiritual growth together, some thornier than others. No matter what our collective past may be, however, it’s good to remember that each new day is a new opportunity to focus on the present moment and choose a positive attitude. Our families often give us the most challenging circumstances (which become spiritual lessons) that we will experience. Be an “ambassador of now” in your clan. Find some joy in what others bring to the family unit and focus on the positive. But if Aunt Edna is still showing up carrying her usual long list of complaints, then consider it your mission to take the high road. Ask the Divine to bring joy to her life and remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. Take a deep breath, stay centered, and keep moving forward.  

See the Big Picture 

Use affirmations to get your positive thinking on course. Affirm, In the universal perspective, today is but a blink in time. Therefore, I move gracefully through these moments with ease. I offer others my heart without depleting my energy reserves.

Other people’s unhappiness is not about you because joy comes from within. As within, so without. As above, so below. 

When in Doubt, Tune Out

I have found these two affirmations to be particularly helpful when dealing with difficult in-laws:

From this day forward, I focus on what is important and not what others expect me to do. I am capable of using my tune-out button when a negative situation arises. I am centered, whole, and happy, and celebrate life well.  

From this day forward, I choose to never compromise my beautiful soul for the sake of fitting into a program. I ask for divine assistance in bringing my light in positive ways to this family. I am a whole and complete individual and am comfortable in my uniqueness. I love myself and lovingly express who I am, knowing my presence is a gift to everyone in this family.

When you’re hosting or attending a family holiday gathering, remember to check your old family baggage at the door, stay in the present moment, and know it is not your job to change anyone else. Ride the bumps with good humor and rely upon your Source.


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