No, this isn’t about how you should call your mother, or grandparents, or aunts and uncles. I mean, you should do that. But that’s not what this is about. It isn’t even about putting your phone down and talking at a family gathering. Which, you also should. Check out that article if you haven’t.
This is a little message reminding you that people won’t understand something unless you tell them.
Let’s get into it.
Like I said, this is a small message with a note of encouragement. I know holidays are busy and we might not have the time every day to sit down and read an essay.
We all have things that bug us about ourselves, that are problematic, or that cause tension. For instance, this is a dramatic example, but I used to cut so I have scars. Now, while they have faded and while I don’t care about them, others do. One of the ways I combat the tension this easily could create at family gatherings, I made sure that the first time I was around them in short sleeves I brought up the issue ahead of time.
Other things that are big life factors like begin vegetarian or vegan, are important to discuss beforehand.
It gives people time to process things. Not everyone is going to support you or your decisions but to give them the best chance of being nice, communicate them.
This applies to things said during family meals. We don’t have to start a fight to quietly say, I’m not sure I completely agree with that. Or to politely offer the other side. Confronting someone by telling them they are wrong, bad, or not informed is a problem.
It creates conflict. No one wants conflict during the holidays so if things start to hurt you or what you stand for, turn it on yourself. You can always say I’m not comfortable talking about this or pull a person aside and say that they hurt your feelings a little.
The bottom line is just be nice. We don’t have to get along with everyone but remember that sometimes people don’t know what filter to wear around you. We all have filters for each person we know. It doesn’t mean we are being unauthentic to ourselves, it means we are being respectful to someone else. So think about that this holiday season.
Communicate. Inform them of who you are today. Don’t take anything to heart. They might not have the right filter set up yet.