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For many, the holidays are a far cry from ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. There can be a lot of ups and downs this time of year of many of us, but with a little planning, preparation and perspective we can survive the season relatively unscathed.

Recognize when to Opt for Quality Time over Quantity

The movies and media would have us believe that we must strive for a picture perfect image of family life, sharing time together with everyone getting along. There may be a few minor squabbles but ultimately everyone comes away closer and appreciating the time they have together. For many family situations these kind of unrealistic explications can set us up for further pressure and disappointment or can lead to burning ourselves out trying to make this Hollywood image come to life, all for no avail.

I like to joke that spending time with our family of origin is an excellent way to test how far we have really come in our own personal development work. Our families know how to push our buttons like no one else can, after all, our early experiences are what helped to shape who we are and helped to create many of these buttons in the first place.

Patterns in relationships also tend to take on a life of their own, so even when we have come a long way in our own growth, those who knew us as we once were tend to take a while to begin to treat us differently. Remind yourself it is not personal, it is just part of the process of changing any pattern in relationships.

There are times when aiming for quality time for quantity can help to release the heavy burden of expectations and to help us appreciate our loved ones for who they actually are and where they are at. It is always easier to connect with an open heart when we are respecting our own boundaries and not pushing ourselves into a state of resentment. This may involve scheduling visits with extended family to a number (whether it is days or hours) that you can happily manage and recognizing when you start to pass that point. It can also invoke making sure you are taking time from all the hustle and bustle of the season to make sure you recharge your own energy levels.

Our families do the best they can with where they are at, it is not about shaming or blaming but about loving ourself so that our hearts can remain open to receive the love that is there in the way those around us are able to give it, not in the way we would like them to.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season filled with love and light,

Katie Turner