Celia came to see me to get some advice on how to deal with all the Xmas stress. This was about 4 weeks ago, more than 3 months before the actual event. A quarter of the year, being affected by an event that is supposed to be about fun, love and being with other people. And it was this last aspect that was getting to Celia. She was one of 3 sisters and considered the most successful one. She had a busy job, lived in a grand house, seemed confident, had a sociable husband and was an excellent cook and organiser. For those reasons she had been hosting Xmas for the last 4 years. It started off as a spontaneous offer the year both parents had passed away, the year after, she repeated it, then it was expected and last year nobody even considered that she wouldn’t do it. It was taken for granted. And that was where it went wrong for Celia, because she did not want to do it this year. She and her husband wanted to go away on a Caribbean cruise and enjoy quality time together. Instead of entertaining a flock of family. But………how to tell the family?
It was causing Celia already sleepless nights. She was not confident about the reactions and was afraid that her sisters and their families would be angry with her, that she would be seen as selfish, unsupportive and cold. That what other people would think of her, had a bigger impact on her than what she thought was the right thing for her and her hubbie.
I came up with an simple statement:
‘It is none of your business what other people think of you’
People, like Celia, who find other people’s opinion about their decisions more important than their own, are usually not very self-assured or confident. They look at others for approval, but in Celia’s case, none of her family will be too happy as she is causing them an inconvenience. They have to organise their own Xmas this year.
Does that make Celia a cold and selfish woman? Of course not. She has to look after herself and her marriage and if that means that she makes a change to arrangements that other people expect from her, it is not her problem, but theirs.
Tips to ‘stick to your ground’ and keep the Xmas stress at bay (from life coaching Surrey)
If you are nervous about other people’s feedback on your decisions, ask yourself the following:
- What are the reasons I made this decision?
- Are any of these negative, harmful to others, selfish or other? They might be inconvenient for other people, but that is just the way it is.
- How are you going to benefit from your decision?
- Keep that in mind when you communicate your decision and be firm and clear
- Enjoy your own time and your chosen activities
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