Your Holidays Will Be Good When Your Boundaries Are.
So many wonderful things are possible during the holidays: Quiet time to expand our souls, the chance to embrace generosity and good will, opportunities to enjoy the warmth of our families and friends, and be grateful for the wonderful relationships in our lives.
But many people suffer through this season, becoming increasingly frazzled, resentful, and hurt with every new disappointing interaction, extra commitment, and unrealistic expectation put on them. (And often, feeling most hurt and put-upon by the people who should love them the best).
I’ve been a marriage and family therapist for a loooong time now, and there is one thing I consistently see in people who do NOT have a good time over the holidays: Bad boundaries.
When Boundaries Are A Problem Over The Holidays
- Too Soft: When people are too passive and not assertive about their needs and feelings, they often wind up feeling put-upon, mistreated or disrespected by family members (or partners!) — and resentments brew.
- Too Hard: When people are too rigid and inflexible with their boundaries, they often feel tense, stressed out, and irritable. Furthermore, friends and family members may feel put-upon, mistreated or disrespected by them — and it creates unnecessary conflict.
- Unaware: When people aren’t clear about their own limits and struggle to hold healthy boundaries with themselves, they overcommit time and energy, have unrealistic expectations of themselves, over-indulge in unhealthy ways, and are prone to overspending. This leaving them feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally (and financially) depleted by the time New Year’s rolls around. Not fun at all.
Because these kinds of boundary problems are so common (and so darn avoidable, with advance planning) I thought I’d put together some holiday-specific boundary advice for you.
Listen, and learn specific, actionable tips and tools that you can use to set healthy limits with your self and others, and also be selectively flexible.
I sincerely hope that it helps you stay in a good place over the next month, and enhance all the wonderful moments that this season has to offer.
Lisa Marie Bobby