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Family Gatherings
Five Tips for Enjoyable Family Gatherings
By Neill Gibson and Beth Banning
 

Are you wondering how your next family gathering will turn out? Is it tough to relate to some of your family members? Do you sometimes leave feeling drained and wondering why you went at all? It can be different this year. Imagine walking into your next family get-together feeling excited about being there and knowing that you will leave feeling happy about the whole experience.
Keep reading this article below >>

 
 
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NVC Quote of the Month

On Creating Peace

"I would like us to create peace at three levels and have each of us to know how to do it. First, within ourselves. That is to know how we can be peaceful with ourselves when we're less than perfect, for example. How we can learn from our limitations without blaming and punishing our self. If we can't do that, I'm not too optimistic how we're going to relate peacefully out in the world.

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Enjoyable Family Gatherings... continued

It's your choice. Here are five tips for making your next family gathering the experience you've always wanted.

Tip 1: Decide What You Want to Experience
We call this creating an intention. If you aren't very clear about what you do want to experience, then it will be difficult to make that happen. And it may be hard for you to even notice it when it is happening. How do you get clear about your intention? Ask yourself these questions:

"What qualities would I like to experience?"

You might choose fun, caring and harmony. Or peacefulness: "If my experience today could only be peaceful I would walk out happy and wanting to return next time." Take some time to imagine all the qualities that would make your next family gathering a wonderful experience for you.

"How could my family and I benefit from this?"

Perhaps your family:

  • Could experience a greater sense of connection

  • Might look forward to seeing each other again

  • Would be more playful with one another

  • Or ... ?

The time you spend identifying these benefits will help you remember your intention if things get challenging at the gathering.

Tip 2: Know That People are Doing the Best They Can
You might ask, "When Aunt Sue complains about everything under the sun, is she doing the best she can? When Dad criticizes me about every part of my life, is he doing the best he can?"

Yes. They're doing the best they can.

Stop and think about it. Do they look like they are having fun? Are they being effective at getting what they really want? If they knew a way to take care of themselves that they enjoyed more and that worked better, don't you think they would do it? So if you get upset seeing people act the way they do, remind yourself: They're doing the best they can. Then get back to creating what you want to experience as fast as you can.

Tip 3: Don't Take Things Personally
"Don't take it personally if someone tells me that what I'm doing is stupid?"

You can do this if you start with this understanding: Everything people do or say starts with a desire to support something they value. And what would that be? Guess.

Your father says to you, "How can you possibly think starting your own business is a smart thing to do?" He might value security, or predictability. He might be worried about how you'll continue to pay your bills. Believe it or not, this might be his attempt to contribute to you. And, he is doing the best he can.

So the next time you hear something you don't enjoy, the next time you want to defend yourself and justify your position, STOP and remember: It's about them. Don't take it personally.

Instead, try to be curious. "Wow, I wonder what's going on with them?" Imagine yourself in the other person's shoes: "If I said or did that, what might be going on with me?" See if you can guess.

Tip 4: Clarify Your Understanding About What Others Want
One big cause of upset between people is not being sure about what they want from each other.

Have you ever heard people express concerns or complaints like: "I just don't know how I'm going to pay my rent this month"? Or "I hate it when we start eating without giving thanks first." Or maybe a family member starts talking to you about how your favorite cousin is making a mess of her life.

What happens then? Do you feel confused or uncomfortable? Do you want to justify yourself, explain the situation, or give advice?

Whenever you feel uncomfortable hearing people's concerns or complaints, we believe this is partly caused by your not understanding what they want from you.

We suggest you start asking for clarity. Say or guess out loud what you think the other person might want from you.

Before you start, remember tips 1, 2, and 3.

  1. Get present to the intention you created for the gathering.

  2. Remember people are doing the best they can.

  3. Don't take things personally.

Suppose cousin Jim says, "I just don't know how I'm going to pay my rent this month." What does he want? Ask him, "Do you want to brainstorm some ideas about how you might get your rent this month?"

Or when your grandmother says, "I hate it when we start eating without giving thanks first." What does she want? Ask her, "Would you like to see if somebody is willing to give thanks before we eat this year?

If your guesses aren't accurate, they'll let you know by saying something that gets closer to what they do want. Your guess will open the way for a conversation that can lead to more understanding and less stress for both of you.

Tip 5: Develop Your Ability to Be Grateful
What you focus your attention on grows.

If you constantly notice things that cause you pain, then you will continue to suffer. "How inconsiderate he is." "She doesn't care about me." "He's the most selfish person I've ever known."

Try focusing your attention on what you enjoy.

It may sound simple. But ask yourself, "What would it be like if I spent my day simply noticing everything that I enjoy about being with my family?"

Imagine looking for all the things that you do enjoy, and being thankful for them. "It smells so good in here; I can't wait to eat." "I'm so grateful that everyone cares enough to spend time together." "It's nice that my mom enjoys having these gatherings at her house."

How would you feel if you focused your attention on these things?

So, decide what you really do want to experience, know that people are doing the best they can, don't take things personally, clarify your understanding about what others want, and focus on what you enjoy

Do this and you'll experience the fastest, easiest way to enjoy any family gathering.

If you're ready to improve all your relationships, sign up for our thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series. Each tip offers unique self-help skills and personal growth techniques that help you stay focused on what's most important to you. Sign up today!

Remember, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice.

Neill Gibson is coauthor of the PuddleDancer Press booklet What's Making You Angry? He and Beth Banning are the founders of Focused Attention, Inc. and they would love to help you learn new communication, relationship, and personal growth skills with their thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series.

They recently published a now best-selling set of three eBooks called, The Marriage Guide Series, available through Amazon.com for only $2.99 each. (You can read these on any kind of device you own with free readers available from Amazon.com.)

 

Keep learning these vital communication skills with these NVC books and training resources:


This Month's Specials: Every Day Book Package Specials:

 

 

Family Gatherings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New from Beth and Neill
The Marriage Guide Series

Relationship Tips for a Happy Marriage

Relationship Tips for a
Happy Marriage:

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How to Rekindle an Unhappy Marriage

How to Rekindle an
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Overcome Resentment
and Regain the Trust
You Need
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The Secrets to a Happy Marriage

The Secrets to a
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Proven Strategies that
Create Love and Intimacy
on Purpose
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New Book Covers Have Arrived... continued

 

As a special "Thank You" to our community for all the support we received in selecting the new covers for our two main titles, we're offering the following selection of items for 65% off the retail price through the month of December.

We hope you enjoy the new covers as much as we do and would appreciate any feedback you'd care to offer. Please let us know what you think by using the Feedback Form on our website.

Wishing you a Merry Holidays and a Happy New Year,
Your Friends at PuddleDancer Press

HOLIDAY SHIPPING NOTICE

If you'd like to take advantage of any of the special prices for holiday gift giving, please be advised that December 12th is the LAST DAY we can receive your order and guarantee its arrival prior to December 25. 

 

 

New NVC Book Covers

Creating Peace Cont.

"Second, between people. Nonviolent Communication training shows people how to create peace within themselves and at the same time how to create connections with other people that allows compassionate giving to take place naturally.

"And third, in our social systems. To look out at the structures that we've created, the governmental structures and other structures, and to look at whether they support peaceful connections between us and if not, to transform those structures."

 

From our online Marshall Rosenberg, NVC Quote Collection.

 

TITLE
Nonviolent Communication:
A Language of Life 2nd Ed.
by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
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Nonviolent Communication
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