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- When You Say Goodbye, It’s Okay to Cry
- Good Words Plant Seeds
- Make Someone’s Day Better ~ Express gratitude
- Let Go of the Toxic People in Your Life
- Complaining Is Bad For Your Brain ~ 5 Tips To Overcome
- Conflict Resolution–How to Resolve Conflict Quickly
- When Not to Talk Things Out–3 Tips
- Relationship Help–Allow Someone to Struggle to Get Strong
- How to Grieve A Loss or Transition–5 Secrets to Healthy Grieving
- Relationship Help–How to Say Goodbye To A Group
- Difficult Relationships
- Grief-How to Grieve a Loss
- Keys to Reconciliation
- Letting Go
- Power of Words
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- Relationship Investment
- Trust in Relationships
Tag Archives: Communication
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How do you deal with your frustration or disappointment when your holiday plans don’t go like you want them to? What do you do when you have certain expectations and they don’t happen? What about when your family or friends let you down? Or your life circumstances are not what you would wish?
There are various scenarios where this can happen. Maybe your family members don’t share your same ideas of the holiday or cooperate with your expectations. You may have to work more than you expected. Perhaps health challenges make it difficult for you because you can eat the same goodies as before.
Perhaps you or someone else gets sick or has died. Maybe you are away from your family or a loved one has to be overseas in the military or on a mission. Your lives and values have changed and you don’t have the same interests and bond you used to have. Maybe you have a disruptive family situation or conflict between family members. Or your life and dreams have been shattered by rejection from someone you love.
Expectations and desires for holidays either based on traditions in your family or what has happened in the past are normal. Traditions are good and have their place.
What happens though when things don’t go the way they always have or the way you want them?
7 Tips to Help You Find Satisfaction And Even Joy When Holiday Plans Are Not Ideal
1. Process your feelings. Don’t deny your feelings. They are valid. Any time things don’t go the way you want, there is a sense of loss. The fastest way through your feelings is not by denying or ignoring them but by processing them. Deal with your disappointment, frustration, anger or sadness.
Let yourself have those feelings. If you have an empathetic friend, share your feelings or write about them. When you accept your feelings, it helps you get past them. You may have to do this several times and it can be a process depending on the depth of the loss.
If you need to forgive someone for the wrong they did to you, do so. Hanging on to an offense doesn’t change things, it robs you and your family from being able to enjoy each other. We all have shortcomings and make many mistakes. When you forgive, you’ll find a sense of freedom even if the others don’t change.
2. Gain perspective. Look for the opportunities in the situation. If you don’t see them, ask God to help you see the good that can come out of it. If a family member doesn’t want to do what you want, this is an opportunity for you to grow in being unselfish and learning how to let go.
If you are sick, it’s an opportunity to grow in compassion for others who suffer. It’s also an opportunity to be still and reflect. Quietness and stillness recreates and rest heals.
If someone is overseas or is no longer with you, maybe you can write something for them or in their memory. You have the opportunity to grow in compassion for others who do not have their loved ones.
Suffering unites us with other fellow human beings.
3. Let go. Surrender the ideal. There are a lot of expectations created in culture, by others and by ourselves that makes us want the ideal situation. Instead, accept the reality that is. There is peace that comes when you accept things the way they are versus the way you want them to be. This can be a process so be patient with yourself.
4. Be flexible. Think about your needs and desires and other options and ways you can get those met. Take charge of your situation and explore other possibilities. If you have in your mind that only certain situations or people can meet your needs, you keep yourself from seeing any number of ways your needs can be met. You also shut yourself off from new experiences.
5. Find out what the other people involved think, feel and need. If it’s your family that is not meeting your expectations, find out what they want to do and figure out how you can negotiate ways for the situation to be a win/win.
6. Talk about needs and desires in advance. Even plan several options so if one plan doesn’t work out, you have another one.
7. Reach out to others. If nothing works out for you the way you want, think of ways you can help others. Even when you are sick, you may be able to make a phone call or write an email or pray for others. In your loss, comfort someone else in their suffering. When you find yourself in self pity, one of the quickest ways out of that trap is to help someone else who has a need. In giving, you will receive.
You don’t have to be a victim of anything that happens to you. When you take charge of the situation, acknowledge and process your feelings, gain prospective and explore other options, you can find a place of peace and satisfaction. At times you may even discover an unexpected joy!
“Love does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking;” I Corinthians 13:5 (AMP)
P.S. I had a chance to test this later Christmas 2014 when plans did not work out the way I wanted. In fact, the way my plans were thwarted deeply grieved me.
I did not have time to walk through all the steps or do everything recommended. However, I did re-read this post and the insights helped me to look for a way I could redeem the situation and find some positive solutions in the midst of it.
At the time I questioned my own advice and the possibility of finding a satisfactory solution and even joy. I prayed for wisdom and for God to help me. By following the idea God gave me, I did find a way to redeem the situation and at the end of the day, my sorrow had turned to joy.
Recently, I rode with a couple, friends of mine who had been married for many years. I love them but their bickering drives me nuts.
We had dinner and were driving home from a new and unfamiliar location and he lost his way. I’ve changed the names and details to protect their identities.
“If you would just turn around and go back, you could get on the road the guy at the gas station told you to.” Sue* told Bill.*
Bill replied, “I won’t miss it. I know I can get there if I go straight ahead. Don’t worry I am in control.”
“You weren’t in control when you got confused back there and you had to ask,” she retorted.
As they drove she said, “Get over there so the other cars can pass you. You are going too fast.”
“No, I’m not. I’m fine.”
“You are going too fast. You are going 70 and that is dangerous. It’s not safe!”
He ignored her.
Finally, he realized he’s going in the wrong direction so he turned the car around. “Oh no, now I have to go back by the strip mall again and I don’t want to do that.”
Even though he realized he was wrong, Sue wouldn’t leave it alone. “If you just listened and turned back there, you wouldn’t have to go past here again. I don’t know why you wouldn’t listen in the first place.”
About that point, I wanted to scream, “STOP!” But the quarreling did not end. All the way home they argued about the directions, the driving, the turnoffs, whatever. When we finally arrived at our destination, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Can you relate to the above scenario? Maybe not to the degree in this situation but on some level, you can find yourself engaged in strife, contending with a family member, friend or coworker. Strife is not good for you. It’s not good for your emotional or physical health. How can you get out of it? How can you live in a peaceful environment instead of a strife filled one?
5 tips to avoid strife:
- Give up the urge to prove the other person wrong. When you have to prove the other wrong as Sue did, it provoked Bill to argue back to prove he was right. The person has to regain a sense of dignity so they will fight back.
- Don’t gloat over it when you are right. Avoid saying, “I told you so” or say as Sue did, “If you had only listened…” especially if you say it in a critical way. You can think that but unless the person is willing to tease about it themselves, it can stir things up and cause continued fighting.
- Let each other make mistakes without rubbing it in and nagging about it. Sometimes it’s hard but let it go. You have to swallow your own pride at being right. You don’t always have to point out the wrong to the other person and rub it in. Hopefully the person will learn from their mistake.
- Give grace for mistakes. We all make them and we’d want people to overlook ours so extend that grace to them.
- Treat the person with respect. Follow the golden rule and do unto others as you would like for them to do unto you.
Avoid strife and you will enjoy peace in your environment. This takes discipline and you have to be intentional about it. If you chose this wisdom, you will enjoy a greater benefit. Your mental, emotional and physical health will flourish when make choices that bring peace.
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1 (NIV 1984)
How about you? Have you had this experience? What do you do? Put your comments in the box below.
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