It’s Thanksgiving and it is a time for all of us to look at what makes us happy and the reason that we have so much to be grateful for. It’s also a time that can be very challenging due to family. I love my family dearly and I also know how challenging it can be to be around people who don’t understand who you are and what matters most to you. Holidays are tricky for everyone, most of the time families do not always have the same views or opinions. That can make it challenging to feel like you are being heard. It’s also one of the times of the year that is prime for your growth and personal development.
Here’s why: challenge makes you stronger. You are not weak, you may break, but you will always put the pieces back together. When you are around family who does not fully understand you, it’s okay. There are multiple ways that you can get around it. If you’re family is very persistent or aggressive in how they ask questions, ask them about their personal life instead. It’s misdirection and it it tends to work a large amount of the time. The reason? We love to talk about ourselves, if someone asks you a question, you can give a short non committal answer and then ask them a question about their new workout, job or kids. It’s a great way to avoid hurt feelings and you get to learn more about the people who love you.
If you do not want to avoid the topic, dive in. There is no one stopping you from expressing your opinion. We all have a voice and deserve to have it heard. Uncle being racist? Call them on it. Aunt make a homophobic joke? Shut it down. Do it respectfully, that is the game changer. You can politely tell someone they are being a misogynist. Polite does not mean passive, stand your ground, but calling them an idiot does not fix the situation. If you really are trying to help someone understand another point of view, screaming at them is not the way to do it.
Personal development is not always easy. That is why I have found family to be the best way to use my personal development skills. Here is a classic example of things going wrong with family. Everyone is eating dinner, you agree to not talk about politics, politics are talked about before gravy even gets grabbed. You are not responsible for other people’s opinions, you are only responsible for how you react to them. If that means deflecting the question or handling it head on, do it. You know what works best for you.
The reason it hurts so much when you disagree with family is because you love them. Remember that love is more important than being right, but love also means loving yourself to stand up for yourself. You are worthy of love and belonging and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.