Christmas holidays are supposed to bring love and good cheer to Christians all over the world and to other people who help them celebrate as well.
As families gather at their home or go to visit their grandparents it is usually with good intentions with most people expecting to catch up with their long lost relatives and generally have a good time. But this is life, it is unfair, sometimes things never go according to the intended script and we are not perfect people.
Despite our good intentions and teachings about not bringing up grievances during Christmas get parties and dinners, things just go south. As expected in most family settings, people will take sides and sadly, sometimes the parents or grandparents are roped in taking a particular side.
People will support a particular person based on factors such as how rich they are, how close they were when they were kids while others will try to see things rationally and act accordingly.
There will be a cacophony of noise and people will storm out of the compound as others leave a cloud of dust in their wake as they drive off to known and unknown destinations. The following year will be marked with people avoiding each other and holding grudges for a long time.
If your Christmas party ended like that you need not wait when someone announces the passing on of a relative or an upcoming wedding to make amends. You can just start the healing process right away because a divided house cannot stand.
Here are some tips,
- Work on yourself
This might not be so easy as it sounds because working on yourself may mean that you have to confront some habits that often hurt others. We all know how looking in the mirror can be so difficult but if you know you do or say some things at inappropriate times you need to stop.
Working on yourself might also mean putting yourself first and trying to be confident and comfortable in our own skins. If you are not comfortable you may not be in a position to help in repairing relationships. According to psychiatrist and author David Burns, people are 100 percent responsible for every relationship they are in. This means that you need to do your part in the relationships.
- Start Talking
You know your family members better and you can start talking to them depending on how you relate to them and their temperament. No one has ever been awarded for being the proudest person on earth. You can be the first to break the ice and take responsibility for what you did that might have hurt the other person.
Once that is done you can paddle to safer waters and start talking about something good you heard about them in their accomplishments, kids and so on. If you did not participate in the fight directly you can offer to be the peacemaker between the feuding parties. Do not be discouraged if your efforts do not bear immediate results as some people take time to come around.
- Set ground rules
Once you have established where you went wrong as a family, you can set ground rules for future engagements. This will help to avoid such fights and help people respect each other. While setting the rules you can decide to avoid hot topics and what to do whenever some of the topics go off course.
- Try to see the other side of the coin
We are not the same in any way and will always have different opinions about religion, politics, current affairs, dressing, parenting and so on. In most cases, conflicts arise because someone stuck to their guns and refused to appreciate other people’s opinions.
If that was the case you can call the other person and tell them that you appreciate their opinion and while you cannot change yours, you can agree to disagree. You can also remind them that you share the same view on many other things and there is no need to fight on just one topic.
- Work on moving forward
Unless at least one person agrees to leave the past in the past there cannot be healing and moving forward. Just take the phone and say that you are not calling to blame anyone or start another argument. State clearly that all you want is to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones.
Some issues may be too serious and repetitive to handle over a phone or in one meeting. In such cases, there may be a need for counseling and here you will need a professional to handle the sessions for you. Counseling is not very popular among Africans and you should expect resistance when you bring up the subject. You may try another time if the first one does not bear fruit.