We work hard to decorate our homes and make or purchase gifts, then we spend days lovingly preparing food, serving, and trying to make the holidays a special time for our loved ones.
But what happens when our gifts or food – our love offerings – are rejected or ridiculed?
It hurts, for one.
It’s enough to make a person want to crawl into a hole and hibernate until the holidays are over and everyone has returned home.
And as tempting as that little hibernation hideout may sound, there are a few things we can do to make those gatherings easier:
1) Have realistic expectations.
My husband once told me, “Expect from someone what they’ve shown you to expect in the past.” When he offered that advice, I had a huge aha moment as things started clicking together in my mind.
And while sometimes ungratefulness from others comes as a shock and catches us off-guard, nearly knocking us off our feet, there are a lot of times that we can expect it.
2) Try not to take it personally.
When someone responds negatively to you, realize those words or actions ultimately have nothing to do with you and everything to do with the condition of the other person’s heart.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 (NKJV)
3) Respond Kindly.
Don’t fuel fire with more fire! Douse it out with love.
While responding with love won’t necessarily make the other person realize the error of their ways, it will keep your own conscious clean. Like my mama used to say, “It takes two to tango.” If the other person wants to tango, then let them dance alone.
It’s also important to remember that we only see the outward behavior. We don’t always see what goes on behind the scenes to know what another person may be going through. We can retaliate or we can be compassionate. Let’s choose compassion.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:20-21 (NKJV)
I’m honored to be guest-posting for Mandy Kelly today. Join me on Mandy’s blog to read the other five ways we can deal with difficult relatives during the holidays (or any other time).