Setting Boundaries: Holiday Edition

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‘Tis the season of holiday functions, parties, gatherings, and events. This also means ’tis the season for crotchety people to give you unsolicited advice, comments, and garbage.

If you’re a parent, this is an especially riveting time of exciting comments and opinions on your parenting choices and judgment of your parenting style. Fortunately for me, my personal family is so supportive and loving, but I have my share of other events where my choices are the topic of conversation more often than I care to entertain.

So, without further ado, let’s discuss HOLIDAY BOUNDARY SETTING! Find my Pinterest board, dedicated to boundaries, HERE.

You can also shop my 12 Days of Surviving the Holidays Affirmation Cards HERE

BOUNDARY, noun, a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

Boundaries are something that is still a new concept to me. Something that I’ve adopted since starting therapy in 2019, and an area that I am still working on today.

If you are also new to the concept of boundaries, let’s learn something together today!

As the movement of prioritizing mental health continues to grow, we’re seeing an emphasis on setting personal boundaries. Boundaries are so healthy, so necessary, and truly one of the best steps you can take when you are maybe starting a personal development/mental health journey.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk dissapointing others” – Brene Brown

1. My personal choices are not a topic for open discussion

You are not the latest topic for your family to debate at the dinner table. If you find your choices, actions, or personal life is a wide stretched topic, where everyone is weighing in their own opinions, you have every right to shut that shit down.

What you choose to discuss with a certain person, or even a select few people, is your choice, and family especially mistakes their relation to us as their green light to tell us what they think we should be doing.

An example of what I’m referring to is when someone brings up something about you, to discuss at large, without your permission or without you being the one to initially bring up the conversation.

This can often result in a feeling of being blind-sided, and we then are left feeling overwhelmed and then attacked as people start to give their unsolicited advice and opinions on whatever the topic may be.

Remember, you are allowed to gracefully decline your personal life being the center of the conversation.

Some examples of declining this topic/behavior:
1. I’d rather not discuss this with everyone
2. That is not something I’m reading/willing to talk about right now
3. I appreciate your concern/thoughts, but I’d rather talk about something else right now
4. This is not something I want to discuss with so many people.

2. My relationship status is none of your concern

Why is this a thing? Like, why, in front of a whole group of people, does your aunt think it’s appropriate to bring up your dating life? (Or lack thereof)

These people barely talk to you throughout the year, but then decide it’s a great time to discuss your love life in front of all these other people you barely even know anymore.

Some examples of declining this topic/behavior:
1. This is an awkward conversation for me to discuss with so many people
2. I appreciate your concern over my love life, but that’s a personal topic I don’t care to discuss here
3. You can call me another time to discuss that if you’re curious. I’m not talking about that here

3. My weight and/or food choices is not up for dicussion

In the words of the Backstreet Boys, TELL ME WHYYYYYYYY! Tell me why people think this is appropriate?!

If you want to eat 17 pieces of pie and no vegetables, you’re a grown-ass adult. Eat what you want! And if someone has something to say, throw a brussel sprout at their face, because they stink as much as the brussels.

In all seriousness, weight and food-shaming is such a heavy topic of conversation during the holidays, and I just want you to know that you do not have to justify your food choices to anyone! And you are also allowed to enjoy yourself at the holiday meals without feeling guilty.

Some examples of declining this topic/behavior:
1. I’m not talking about my food choices with you
2. My weight is an inappropriate conversation topic
3. Thank you for your concern, but I don’t care to have this conversation
4. *Throw brussel sprout at their stinky face*
(Just kidding…..kind of)

4. Thank you for the invite, but I’ll be unable to attend

If there is an event that you just simply do not want to attend, DON’T GO. If you are going into a function and already dreading being there, that is a sign that you should probably just skip the event altogether.

If you’re anxious leading up to going somewhere, that’s a red flag. Just don’t go. Unless you’re always anxious leading up to events. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. But if the people and/or setting of an event has you absolutely dreading attending, don’t go.

Some ideas for declining invites:
1. Thank you for thinking of me! But I won’t be able to make it
2. That sounds fun but I have other plans that day.
3. I won’t be available to come to that.

5. The Holidays are not meant to be a picture perfect event and I will not stress over the minor details

Sometimes, between social media and Hallmark movies, we get lost to the real reason of gathering with loved ones and celebrating the holidays.

As the season is upon us, let’s try to stay in the moments and enjoy the days for what they are, instead of stressing over things such as the cleanliness of our homes or the picture perfect outfits we couldn’t get our kids (or significant other) to wear.

I’m unable to think of suggestions for this topic of conversation without sounding rude, and of course, if you don’t have anything nice to day, don’t say anything at all. So if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

The graphic’s in this post are a couple of the 12 affirmation cards that are available in my Etsy shop. Please feel free to save these to your phone or print them out if you would like the reminders, or buy the full set in my Etsy shop. You can find the link to the affirmation cards towards the start of this post.

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