Avoid mistakes of Holidays past

Do you find yourself excited about the Holidays but dreading those holiday gatherings?

This time of year is one of hope, reflection, and expectations, but it can also be a time that brings up perceived judgment, past slights, and unmet expectations.  If you find yourself worrying that old patterns will crop up at family gatherings, try this simple tip;

“Re-write the past.”

How do you do that?

Think about a time in the past that didn’t go the way you wanted. Maybe it brought you some stress, discomfort or a reaction that you don’t want to repeat again this year. When you have one in mind, think about how you reacted, and re-write your part in the exchange.

Keep in mind that you cannot control what others did or said, nor can you control how they will react or respond when you do things differently, but YOU can rewrite YOUR part in it.

Did your Aunt bring up that job you lost, and you felt defensive?  Did your mom tell an embarrassing story about you, “all in good fun”, that made you feel bad about yourself?  Did you brag about how busy you are, as your tablemate’s eyes glazed over?

Think about how you felt and how you responded.  What didn’t you like, where did it go wrong, and what do you not want to happen again? Then, rewrite those past interactions with YOU reacting differently. What do you need to change, what topics do you need to avoid, and how could you have responded in a way that doesn’t have you repeating old patterns?

When you do this simple reflective exercise, you create a roadmap you can follow the next time you are in a similar situation (say, at a holiday gathering).  You can respond in a different, more protective and productive way with the practiced responses you created while re-writing the past.  The old pattern will not continue to repeat itself with the same negative result, and your Holiday’s will be filled with less stress and anxiety.

If you get stuck and want some simple phrases you can use when you don’t know what to say, check out my resources page, and download “What to say when you don’t know what to say”.

Have a wonderful Holiday and remember; be honest but kind, be firm but fair, and be in touch.


Get my 10 best tips on how to deal with people & sticky situations!

Get tons of tips on dealing with difficult people, having tough conversations, and navigating conflict.

  • Take the guesswork out of how to respond to rude, manipulative or just plain dysfunctional people

  • Take control of the situation so that you don’t get caught up reacting instead of responding

  • Know what to say - when you don’t know what to say