As holiday parties and family get-togethers get more frequent during this season, we might be seeing people who we don’t typically see. We want you to stay safe this holiday season, and that extends to more than just physical safety.
The holidays can bring up a lot of emotions for people, some good, some bad, and some neutral. We all know how relatives can be, and sometimes during this season, we may find ourselves in situations that are not healthy for us.
First, at IMPACT, we believe that you never have to have a relationship with someone that you do not want to. You do not have to see or talk to someone that you do not want in your life. However, that can be tricky in the holiday season, and we may decide to make exceptions on who we interact with for the sake of ease or keeping the peace. That doesn’t mean that we don’t get to have boundaries and do what we need to do to protect ourselves emotionally and mentally.
Before we get into the full swing of the holiday season, we want to encourage everyone to think about what their boundaries and needs are. If you are traveling, how long are you willing to stay and where are you willing to stay? What conversations are off-limits for you? Do you have anyone who can help support your boundaries, if needed? How can you communicate your needs beforehand? How can you respectfully enforce your boundaries if they are crossed? Exploring these questions will help you decide what you need to do in order to make the most out of the upcoming season.
Oftentimes, the best way to get what we need is to ask for it. Our boundaries deserve to be voiced and respected. Most people do not intend us harm, so when we communicate our needs with them, we give them an opportunity to enter into a deeper relationship with us, and if our boundaries are not accepted, we can move forward with more information about how to interact with that person.
When communicating your boundaries try to be as specific and non-judgmental about the behavior that needs changing and offer a clear, tangible action or change of behavior that would fulfill your needs. Remember, everyone else also has boundaries that deserve to be heard, and so it is important to understand what you are and aren’t willing to compromise on as most boundary-setting conversations will have a negotiation stage.
We hope that everyone is able to have a fulfilling holiday season!