Tis the season for sharing love, joy, and generosity. But with all the holiday hustle and bustle, this season can easily turn into the season of unfulfilled expectations, anxiety, pressure and guilt, if you are not self-aware.
Taking the time to understand what you want and to set clear boundaries around your choices this season can help you avoid disappointing yourself and your friends and family.
How often do you do something you don’t want to do out of obligation, guilt, fear of upsetting another, criticism or abandonment?
It’s no way to live. As my friend and brilliant psychotherapist, Terri Cole, has taught me, it often destroys relationships, too. When you are consistently doing things you don’t want to do, it creates resentment and can lead to no longer wanting to be involved in the relationship.
While acquiescing to others needs and requests during the holidays may seem like the easier way to avoid conflict at the time, not speaking up is not healthy for you or your relationship. When you are fed up, you may begin avoiding the relationship or distancing yourself from it completely.
Don’t worry, in the video below, I share an exercise to help you release any guilt or fear about setting boundaries, and you can download my Free Holiday Boundary Guide which includes a list of effective scripts that have worked well for myself and my clients.
For your own sanity and the health of your relationships, I invite you to take a look at all you are planning to do and take an emotional inventory.
When you think about:
- Each party to which you have accepted an invitation,
- The list of gifts you have decided to give,
- The hosting you have decided to do,
How do you feel?
If pressure, guilt or anxiety comes up when you think about any of the commitments on your schedule, put your hand on your heart, tap into it, and ask yourself this question:
Do I really want to do this?
Will it make me feel good or bad in the end?
If I do this, what could I be giving up? What is the cost to me or my family?
Will it take energy away from me enjoying my own holiday?
Will I feel relieved if I cancel or cross this off my list?
If the answer is yes, your emotions are telling you the best choice for your well-being.
That is the key here! Choice! We all have made sacrifices for our friends and families and done things we didn’t necessarily want to do because we wanted to support someone or make someone happy. In those circumstances, we actually chose wanting to please another because it made us feel good to give in that way.
Don’t let yourself get swept up in the hustle and bustle, STOP, LOOK at the commitments you have made, tap in and LISTEN to your heart. Ask it the questions above, and how you can set a boundary or say, “No,” with love and grace.
Three Tips for Setting Boundaries with generosity:
1. Show appreciation – “I was so excited to be invited to your party. Your parties have always been so fun!”
2. Decline with love – “I am sorry I am not going to be able to make it.”
3. Thank the person for understanding – “I really appreciate your understanding.“
DOWNLOAD Your Free Holiday Boundary Guide
There are more examples in the Free Holiday Boundary Guide which you can download here!
And–here is the Fear Clearing Exercise you can do to make speaking up a much easier, painless process.
Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you think could use it! Here’s a link you can share with your friends! bit.ly/LRBoundaryGuide
You owe it to yourself and your relationships to be honest and true.
Much love, ease and joy!