“This year will be different.”

December 20, 2017 | By More

Raise your hand if you’ve had this thought before the holiday season.


This “most wonderful time of the year” is often loaded with already pre-existing family dynamics. As we prepare to spend multiple days under one roof with our loved ones, often after seeing them for only hours at a time throughout the year, we feel such pressure to be joyful! Generous! AT PEACE! Isn’t that what this season promises !?!

The good news is: this year can be different, if you arrive to your holiday prepared – expecting, in fact, to be triggered – and remain committed to paying attention to your reaction and recovery time.

Before I go home, I remind myself of my place within my family. On the drive over, I literally place myself in the setup: I’m my mom and dad’s daughter. I’m Lisa and Dan’s older sister. I’m the mom of our son, I’m the partner of Hart. I’m Uncle George’s niece. I am an auntie to growing nephews. In my mind’s eye, I make my way around the holiday table.  This all reminds me of where I am within my family, and the connection during the visit seems to flow with much more ease.

For the past few years, I’ve made time to go to their local store when I arrive, to pick up the food I like to eat instead of expecting my parents to do it. We all have different food preferences, and this small acts alleviates a lot of stress and expectations around this subject – which always carry so much weight (no pun intended).


Family Frustration Over the Holidays

If I’m feeling frustrated, sad or bored, instead of checking out – which is always so tempting, especially in this age of portable devices – I take myself somewhere for a moment alone. I’m not going to lie: this usually happens in the bathroom.

Once the door is closed, I check in with my body, notice where breath moves and consciously expand it. If I happen to be having an issue with my mother, I ask myself:

“Where can I receive her love?

“Where does it feel safe to let it in?”

Then I locate that place in my body where I can take in something from my mom. I start small … a compliment, her home-cooked dinner, or a simple conversation in the kitchen where it felt easy to be with her. When we are triggered or feeling annoyed by our mom, we automatically shut down our ability to receive from her. Notice where you lose yourself with your mom.

This holiday season, meet your family where they are at. See them in the best light and receive love they way they give it. You’ll be amazed at what this can change for everyone involved. Give yourself the gift of leaving the pain of the past behind, and enjoy simply being with your family during this time for celebration. The festivities this year include taking time to be sure to give yourself what you need within all that family togetherness.


Johanna facilities transformative group work, providing solutions for the emotional patterns we all inherit from our families. She is committed to resolving the painful patterns that live out from generation to generation. Like a detective, she listens to the facts of your family history, down to the words you use to describe your challenges. These clues lead her directly to the most effective resolution for you. The intention in her work is to contribute to world peace, one family at a time. Visit www.johannalynn.ca

Category: Articles, Counselling & Coaching

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