Why are Holidays with Your Family So Stressful?

If you think you are conscious and have things under control, spend the holidays with your family. Whatever level of awareness you have, the holidays always test our ability to be patient, forgiving and mindful. I have to confess, on more than one occasion I have left family holiday gatherings and said, “I’ll never do that again.”

Family affords you the opportunity to celebrate the joy of being together with the ones we love yet they often test the ability of any normal human to remain calm, cool and collective. You may be asking yourself, what can I do to free myself from family drama and conflict during the holidays?

I’ve got three proven techniques for dealing with family drama during the holidays. They’ve worked countless times for me and they’ll work for you too.

Technique #1: Exercise Patience

Exercising Patience Is Critical When Dealing With Family During The Holidays. When families gather, it often brings with it pain, suffering, annoyance, and even irritation. We’ve all experienced something like this, some more than others. For example, your spouse rolls their eyes as you pour another glass of wine, mothers pressure their daughters about marriage, fathers pressure their sons to get a job, one sibling is doing better in their career than another, Uncle Bob is simply an asshole, and the list goes on.

Before going to any family gathering I always remind myself to be patient and give everybody a lot of space. Some members have a need to excessively share things, while others sit quietly seeking attention for their suffering. When everybody has room to just be themselves than tension can be released.  To be the peace in the room you must be present, patient and create space.

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Technique #2: Forgive, Forget, and Move On

Forgive, Forget, and Move On is the Theme of the Season. If you began with being present, patient and creating room for them, the next big test will be easy. Forgiveness is the key to getting beyond the drama of family gatherings. First,  forgive yourself for how you might be judging others and having feelings or thoughts of hate or anger. If you want to be upset with someone you are unconsciously giving your power to them.

Past upsets are often predictors of future behavior. When you forgive yourself then you can easily forgive others who may have “wronged” you in the past. You’re younger brother may still owe you the money he borrowed from you three years ago, but is it really worth letting ruin family get-togethers for the foreseeable future? I can tell you with certainty, it is not.

Now, let’s flip the scenario and say someone is holding a grudge against you. If they want to be unconscious and act in an unkind manner, truly, they are only being unkind to themselves. They need compassion and forgiveness. Send it to them in their time of need and give yourself a great gift, freedom from their story and drama.

Technique #3: Be Mindful

Being mindful of our thoughts, words, and deeds during the holidays is one of the best ways to free yourself of shared family pain. Mindfulness begins with mindful listening. When we listen to others beyond what they are saying it often reveals their underlying pain.

Be mindful and aware of the need to perceive yourself as being unfairly treated. We can easily default to becoming the victim of someone else. If you feel the urge of “poor me”, don’t go there.

If your daughter brings a less than favorable new boyfriend to dinner, I encourage you to fight the urge to think to yourself, “why is she doing this to me?” Instead, acknowledge that you are not the most important person in the world and it doesn’t revolve around you. Your daughter has her own reasons for liking the young man and by not letting it bother you, you’ll enjoy a much more pleasant dinner free from bickering.

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And lastly be mindful of the way things are, not how you want them to be. We often want to see situations and people for how we want them to be, and when they are not, we get disappointed. Be mindful about listening to others, the need to be unfairly treated and setting yourself up for disappointment, will free you from the projection of others pain and drama.

The holidays are a time when we can heal the past, celebrate the present and bring joy to the future. Patience, forgiveness, and mindfulness of others will free you of what otherwise could be a nightmare of a holiday or self-inflicted holiday depression.

Blessings and Love,



  • Adam C. Hall

    Inspirational Speaker, Author, Founder of The Genius Process

    Adam Hall Adam Hall, Speaker, Author, Founder of the Genius Process, empowers individuals and organizations to unleash their genius to rediscover and align their purpose and mission to create a lasting legacy. Adam’s background includes twenty-four years as the founder and CEO of a Los Angeles based Middle Market Real Estate Investment Bank. During his tenure, he raised in excess of $1.5 billion from both private and institutional sources. He served as principal on several successful commercial real estate projects.  His accomplishments earned him recognition and stature in the community. In 2004, Adam underwent a profound awakening. This began a period of deep discernment, exploration, research and study of Eastern and Western modalities, as well as, Indigenous wisdom traditions, Jungian psychology, and Quantum Mechanics. After a courageous and intensive process of initiations, Adam came to a comprehensive understanding of consciousness, the nature of reality and how this knowledge can be accessed and applied to one’s personal and business life. In 2007, Adam founded Earthkeeper Alliance Legacy Partners LLC., a for-profit B-Corp dedicated to land conservation and un-development. In 2016, he retired to consult with individuals and organizations to help them rediscover their purpose and mission to create a lasting legacy. As Founder of the Genius Process, Adam offers a new quantum mindset based on wholeness, as opposed to individualism and separation. His work fully integrates the biological, physiological, psychological, and ecological aspects of human nature with spiritual law and universal intelligence. He specializes in supporting leaders and companies to transform how they live their lives and do business to serve the greater good.   In 2013, Adam authored The Earthkeeper, Undeveloping the Future, published by Hay House. His upcoming books include The Divine Design, The Thirteen Wisdom Teachings of the Genius, and Wisdom for the Everyday Spiritual Traveler, a pocket guide to a life of Joy.  Adam lives in Santa Barbara, California where he spends his time mentoring young leaders, doing community and planetary stewardship work, as well as, other philanthropic endeavors dedicated to land conservation and education. He is a life long learner and is devoted to reinventing the planet. He enjoys spending time with his three daughters, four granddaughters and communing with Mother Nature.