How does your family affect your mindset? It’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but let’s be real. Sometimes dealing with your family can be a nightmare.
I’m talking about relatives you go most of the year without seeing (and with some of them, maybe it’s for a reason), not your children or your significant other.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my family! But I still found myself completely triggered being with them in the past.
It wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t functional. Sure, they have their flaws – some of them more than others ;) – but we all do. Myself included.
It’s really not so much about them or their behavior, however ridiculous it might seem at times. It’s really about how I’m showing up… how I’m reacting to these situations.
Triggered reactions are real – and they can bring out the worst in family dynamics. Sometimes they’re warranted, sure. But sometimes they definitely aren’t. And even if it is justified, you might still be voicing your concerns in a less than stellar way.
You might think, “Well, maybe I’m acting out a little bit around family for a few days a year. Big deal! It doesn’t happen that often and I have bigger things to worry about than improving my reaction and my mindset.”
But you’d be wrong here. How you’re showing up in family dynamics affects how you show up everywhere else. And being stuck in a pattern of being triggered limits your mindset in every area of your life… including your business!
So let’s get into some strategies for navigating emotional triggers during the holidays, and really, throughout the whole year!
6 Strategies for Navigating Family Triggers
- Drop the justification story. You can, of course, come up with a million excuses and rationalizations for why you’re so irritated and how your behavior is justified. I’m sure your sister really does talk about herself 99% of the time, and you don’t have to deny that. But you must change how you react in these situations and stop blaming the other person.
When your relative is doing that one thing that drives you crazy, you’ll probably start to feel irritated. But guess what? You probably knew they’d act that way at some point. So what are you really complaining about?
Complaining might make you feel good, but this has never translated into a powerful outcome of success and growth.
Step out of the blaming and stop making yourself the victim. This approach will never help you level up.
Focus on your mindset and what you can do instead. You can’t change them, but you can change you. When you make your reactions all about other people, you give up all your power. Stop that. ;-)
And stop rationalizing your reactions, and start reacting as the woman you want to be. Who is she and how does she respond?
- Practice acceptance. Witness whatever is unfolding and the feeling it provokes in you.You mean… just sit there and do nothing?! To be clear, I’m not saying to let someone walk all over you. What I mean is…
Instead of getting lost in a mindset of judgment, resentment, annoyance, or justification… instead of ruminating and making the situation bigger… practice allowing your initial feeling to exist, and stop there. Can you just be with it?
Reject the storylines that try to work their way into your head and lead you down a rabbit hole of conversations in your head. Acknowledge the feeling as simply a feeling – allow it to be there, not pushing it away and resisting it nor giving it energy by getting involved with the story behind it. Just accept it and allow it to be there.
However strong it is, your feeling is still temporary. It doesn’t need to be amplified by you getting caught up in all the thoughts that justify it or make it wrong.
By stepping back like this, you’re reducing the power that these triggers have over you–and building a crucial skill set to calm yourself.
You may even find that through this practice, you can see situations through a less biased lens. It also gives you an opportunity to choose how to react.
This practice gives you greater control of your mindset and your actions. If you’re able to consciously calm yourself down and respond in a way you’re proud of here with family, you can do this in all areas of your life, including in your business.
- Bring in gratitude. Let’s say you’ve become aware of what’s happening, and you’re sitting with it and not giving in to your triggered reaction. First of all, props to you! It ain’t easy. Now, ask yourself this:
What are you grateful for, right now, in this experience?
The cynical side of you will probably say, uh, nothing, this sucks. Maybe you’ll instinctively go into blaming mode. “I want her to change. I want him to be different. How could I be grateful? This is totally messed up.”But you have to hold yourself to a higher standard here. What are you grateful for in this experience? Go beyond the gifts, beyond the fact that you get to spend time with your family… dig deeper.
There’s a deeper level of gratitude that you can drop into. Look at the trigger. What is this calling forward in you? What is it asking of you? How is it asking you to grow?
Gratitude is a tool for emotional health, spiritual health, and greatness in your life. Use it accordingly!
If you get really honest here, you’re being asked to grow in a particular way. Be grateful for that. (It helps in your business too!)
- Examine your self-image.
Our self-image (our identity and who we know ourselves to be) and subconscious programming (the “rules” we learn about how to stay safe, loved, and secure) gets locked in pretty tightly in our formative years. While this lens of understanding helped us when we were young, enabling us to survive in our household and family dynamic, it’s not always so helpful when you’re a full-grown adult… yet it still determines your behavior well into adulthood. It’s the main factor in why some people have massive success and others do just alright or even have really hard lives.
You’re a lot older now, so you might think that you’ve grown beyond it. Maybe in some situations you have. But if you’re with the family that surrounded you while it was developing in the first place… trust me; it can come back in a heartbeat.For instance, maybe you’re being asked to help out a lot. In the beginning, it might feel great – you want to help out! You’re doing typical family things, and it’s fun at first. But at a certain point, it gets to be too much, and it can affect your mindset.
You’re starting to feel micromanaged or like a marionette puppet, who’s having her strings pulled and jumping through hoops.
But you’re caught in a double bind here. You don’t want to let your dad or your sister down yet you truly want to go and relax, wrap this up, and catch up with the others.
There’s an internal conflict—you have a belief system that says helping is good, and you’re worthy when you help. That’s WHO you are. Your identity. But what’s the hidden message behind that?
“You’re only worthy when you help out.”
Do you see how that could really keep you stuck and make you want to act out?
To break free of this automatic reaction, ask yourself:
What kind of reaction would the woman I know myself to be (the wiser, more evolved you) have?
There’s a gap there between how you’re reacting and who you know yourself to be. See that gap and ask yourself…
What is this experience calling forward in me? How is it asking me to grow?
Then, go do that! Make the choice to react that way. Be that growth. Be that woman. Be that mindset.
If you can do this with your family, it will have positive ripple effects in all aspects of your life because the way you’re showing up with your family is spotlighting how you show up in the rest of your life, too – in your business, your relationship, your health. It’s time to clean that up. Reverse the pattern and move up to a higher level!
- Temper your expectations. You probably know the exact thing that one relative is going to do that drives you crazy. So why are you surprised when it happens? ;-)
Unless you have explicit reasons to believe your relatives have changed, don’t set yourself up for disappointment or anger by expecting something different outside of the norm.
Examine your current expectations and ask yourself whether they’re realistic. Let go if the answer is no. (But be careful here – being realistic isn’t the same thing as being pessimistic! Instead of fearing the worst and assuming every little thing will go wrong, use your past experiences to plan for what’s likely to happen.)Yes, it’s safe to expect some things to go wrong. Expect that you’ll be exhausted from the constant social interaction (even if it’s through Zoom… we’re all a bit out of practice, okay?) or that your aunt will ask you invasive questions about your sex life again. Lol!
Use these expectations to create a plan for how you will respond. You have no control over your family members’ moods or behaviors. But how will you react to nosy Aunt Lisa in a way that’s healthiest for you and your relationship with her? How will you cope with your obligations when you’re exhausted? Will you prioritize self-care and excuse yourself? Will you grin and bear it but feel resentful later? Or is it something in between?
By thinking of these situations in advance, you’re setting yourself up for a better response in the moment. Although there are many things you can’t control, choose to focus on what you can control – your attitude and your mindset.
- Know you’re not alone. It’s so much harder to get past triggers when you assume everyone else is able to easily control their own. This is not true!
It took me so long to get the hang of this! Even when I thought I had my approach totally down, I would trip up at family gatherings.
Something that I’ve seen really help is being able to talk about your triggers with a group of women that can relate – women going for growth, who want to level-up, and not stay stuck playing out the same patterns again and again. Women who understand, yet also hold you accountable towards achieving your goals and establishing your mindset. Interested in that? Then now’s the time for…
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Free yourself from your own unmet expectation and focus on the needle-moving actions required! This is all about self-image… just like dealing with our triggers. ;-)
If you’re ready to master the mental aspect of success and start making massive progress towards your goals, then look into The Spirit of Wealth 2021 program immediately and book a consultation for us to discuss whether or not it’s the right program for you.
It’s an easy and abundant universe—and it’s at your fingertips.
What are you waiting for?