In this heated political climate, I don’t want to be in the middle of a family food fight during the holidays. When I visit relatives who have a vastly different stance on the election than me, I will need to leave two expectations behind:
- That there will be a reconciliation or meeting of the minds.
- That my views will validated or affirmed.
It ain’t happening.
So don’t even expect it.
Knowing this fact has helped me immensely.
My choices in avoiding an argumentative relative is to skip a family dinner and miss seeing the other members of family whom I love; or I can go and just deal with that “special” one.
According to How to Have Thanksgiving Dinner Without a Family Blowup, you should prepare a strategy for dealing with possibly prickly relatives.
First, accept your own emotions/anger. Second, prepare a “what-if” plan. Third, remember your snarly cousin or brother-in-law is a complex person with his own life experiences that have shaped him. Lastly, convince yourself to listen without interrupting. This is called “Divine Listening” — or listening while quieting the part of your rational mind that wants to talk back or “fix” the other person. Divine listening works to actually calm the other person.
Staying outwardly calm while someone else is blathering like an idiot isn’t much of a problem for me. I’m usually able to listen without interrupting. I can accept that someone else has a different opinion, even when I think that opinion is idiotic or based on falsehoods. I try not to let that opinion paint the entire person as a villain or idiot. I love being able to nod my head while thinking “Whatever.”
My problem is when I believe that the other person thinks I’m an idiot. That’s when I have a hard time letting go.
So this will be my mantra:
There will be no meeting of the minds. My views are not going to be validated or affirmed.
I have other friends and family who agree with me, and that will have to be good enough.
What are your plans for the holidays? Are you anticipating family discord? Are you ready?
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist in Commercial Fiction
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist in Women’s Fiction
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist in Women’s Lit
“Linda K. Sienkiewicz’s powerful and richly detailed debut novel is at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River, and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters