The most central theme of the holiday season is connection. This is the time of year when we make the most effort to reconnect with family and friends to celebrate joy, wonder, and hope. It’s the perfect opportunity to invest in and strengthen these relationships. This is making the most of your relationships.
The trouble is, we often get caught up in the whirlwind of expectation that surrounds holiday preparation. We put our focus on creating the perfect gathering to impress our friends, or the perfect gift to surprise someone—and don’t get me wrong, these things are wonderful, but not when they cause us to miss out on actually cultivating our relationships.
How Perfectionism Destroys Christmas
Unrealistic expectations are the leading cause of stress during the holiday season. Studies have shown this to be true, and this stress takes a toll on a good number of things in our lives—including our relationships.
This is the real thief of Christmas cheer: Perfectionism. It’s a sneaky little beast that robs us of:
These things all impact our capacity to connect with those around us. It’s time to push back and be intentional about making the most of your relationships this Christmas.
4 Tips for Making the Most of Your Relationships
#1: UNPLUG FROM DISTRACTIONS
Disconnecting from things like your phone, the internet, and social media will make a huge impact on your ability to connect meaningfully with others. When you’re distracted—even subconsciously, your focus is elsewhere, and people can tell. It’s not enjoyable to hang out with someone who’s always on their phone, or checking notifications.
#2: BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT MANAGING YOUR SCHEDULE
We make time for what’s important to us. If you want to make the most of your relationships this Christmas, make them a priority. This may mean cutting other things (possibly things that feed the perfection beast) out of your schedule, so you can have more time to focus on those around you. When you prioritize spending time with someone, they will notice, and it will be ultimately more meaningful than any show of perfectionism.
#3: STEER AWAY FROM DIVISIVE DISCUSSION TOPICS
Politics, social justice, religion and sex might not be the best topics to bring up at your family’s Christmas party. There’s plenty of time to discuss these things, as they’re constantly trending. In fact, it’s best to steer away from any topic that may incite conflict or tension. This shows that you value your relationship more than you value pushing your opinion. And who knows? When you’ve made an effort to truly connect, your opinions may be better received in the future.
#4: BE KIND
It’s simple, but we often forget the power of kindness towards those we love. Random acts of kindness are a real gist to others. It takes courage to be kind to someone you may disagree with, but in the end, it will be worth it. This Christmas season, I want to challenge you to do one unexpected kindness every day, and see how it strengthens your relationships. Focus on the positive, and not only will your connection deepen, but so will your joy. And that’s what Christmas is all about.
- What family (or friend) events do you have planned for the holidays?
- How do you intend to be intentional about connecting with those around you?
- What are some of your favorite things to do to invest in your relationships?
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