Holiday Family Fights

Holiday Family Fights

For some, getting through the stress of the holidays means trying to avoid the traditional family fight at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I remember my grandfather drinking too much, getting mad at my mom, she ends up crying, and him leaving early huffing and puffing out the door.  So much for a Happy Thanksgiving or a Merry Christmas!

 

As a mediator, I find avoiding family fights one of the top priorities for many during the holiday season.  Here are a few of the common fights:

 

  • The In-Law Fight. Marriage does instantly create family. Parents never accepted the partner of the child.  Children never accepted the new partner of a parent.
  • The Alcohol Induced Fight. Give anyone too much liquor and just watch the fireworks.
  • The Religion and Politics Fight. There is a reason why people stay away from these topics, especially after some alcohol.
  • The “You Never Amounted to Nothing” Diatribe. This is more of a rant than a fight. The result is just the same; victims and blood everywhere.  Alcohol always helps this one get started.
  • Last, but least, the “Why Can’t You be Like the Others” Fight. This fight ofter originates with parents focused on the misfit child. The whole family would be better if the misfit would just learn to conform or “get along.”

 Now that I have described some of my favorite holiday family fights, what can you do about them? Here are a few strategies. If you are hosting the holiday gathering, you can make some ground rules. How about limiting the amount of alcohol consumption for a start?  Or, certain subjects or people are off limits for conversation.  In order to keep things more positive, how about digging out some old family photos or movies.  Many families have a great time reflecting on past events.  You could even ask each family to bring one of their favorite photos and explain why they selected it.  The point?  If you are the host, you control the environment.  You get a chance to possibly start some new traditions.

Now, if you are not hosting and attending the gathering at another family members home, here are some pointers.  Think about how to excuse yourselves if the family starts down the fight trail.    You can even have an agreed upon word or sentence that signals your spouse or family – time to leave.  If you are ready to confront some difficult family behavior, schedule a pre-holiday conversation to discuss the issue.  “We will not participate in conversations that quickly turn abusive.  If we come, and you raise issues that lead to escalating conflict, we will leave.  We would like to stay and enjoy the day.  How about we think about how to make this a good day for everyone?.”  Think about your words.  Try to describe the situation accurately without using inflammatory descriptors.  Many spouses and children do not feel safe at holiday gatherings.  Thus, they would rather stay home.

 

If you are ready to invest in a process to create peace for your family, we are here to help you on that journey. We offer a FREE 15-minute phone consultation to help you make the first step on the journey.

 

I hope this holiday brings you and your family peace, joy, love and hope. 

Stop the Fighting for Valentine’s Day

Stop the Fighting for Valentine’s Day

Want to give

a gift that lasts a lifetime?

How about stopping the fighting and healthily resolving conflict? Here are three quick tips to get you down the drama-free road:

 

  1. Original Intent. Remember, you loved this person so much you committed to a relationship together. Over time with consistent unresolved conflict, we begin to see the weaknesses and shortcomings of our partner. Often, these are the backsides of a strength that originally attracted us to him or her. Example. A person who is fun and spontaneous may overdraw the checking account. A person who is the rock of stability may seem inflexible and rigid. Once you begin seeing the negative in a person, changing out your lenses can be difficult. When we see people in a certain perspective, we often put them in a box they can rarely escape. Everything they say or do is now seen and heard in a negative perspective. We no longer give them the benefit of the doubt. We forgot if their original intent was positive. We keep them in a box of negativity. Only we can let them out. There are a few truly evil people in the world. I have not met any yet. Most people begin with good intentions, then something goes sideways. Remember where you started and when things came off the rails. That is the place to repair and put the relationship back on track.

2. Empathy and Understanding. Seek to understand before being understood. God gave us two ears and one mouth. We should use them in proportion. We can never truly understand what another person is feeling, even the one we love so much.

However, we can give the gift of listening to his or her heart, so they FEEL and EXPERIENCE being understood. All too often, we jump in with our own story and fail to listen to his or her story. Empathy is not sympathy. Most of us do want sympathy. We want those closest to understand us. You cannot begin to resolve conflict if you cannot understand each other. You do not need to agree, in fact, on some issues, you may never agree. However, you do need to respect and understand each other. Each of you must feel valued and important, so important you will give undivided attention to listen with empathy seeking to understand the other.

 

  1. Perspective. We can fight over the most trivial things! One couple married over 75 years was asked the secret to their lifelong commitment. The answer was simple. “We decided not to fight over the little things”. When asked what a “little thing” was, they said almost everything. Perspective helps to frame life. I often use the crystal ball question. Do you think this would still be an issue five years from now? If the answer is yes, then you certainly need to work through the issue to find a resolution. If the answer is no, then let it go. You have made a little thing into a big thing. We need to fight the urge to always be right. You may prove yourself right and be all alone. Humility goes a long way to apology and forgiveness keeping your relationship strong and loving.

I could go on. Sharlyne and I have been married for over 44 years. Do we have disagreements? Of course! Do we remember the original intent of the other, understand with empathy, and keep things in perspective? Usually. We have our moments, too. But we repair and don’t leave conflict unresolved. May you as well.

Shalom,

Dr. Randall Kinnison, aka Doctor Peace

Peace in Spirit

Peace in Spirit

How is it

With your soul?

Are you at peace amid everything swirling around you? For some, 2020 was challenging, but also rewarding. Some businesses grew to experience their best year ever. And, some businesses could not survive the lockdowns and were forced to close the doors. Normally, my spirit is deeply anchored and feels the waves battering the ship, yet the anchor holds firm. I will be honest, today the choppy waves are knocking me down a bit. So, let’s explore what it means to experience peace in spirit.

I realize not all of you listening may believe in the concept of spirit. However, many people believe in the human spirit. What in the world is the spirit? In my world view, spirit equals soul. You will not find the spirit in an autopsy. You cannot surgically remove it. Behavioral and neurological scientists have debated the existence of the spirit or soul for years. In the book, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief by Newberg and d’Aquili, they write about research related to the “soul” or spirit. Fascinating stuff. I believe you are born with a soul you have a soul from the moment of conception. Now, since you have a soul, how do you find peace in your soul or spirit?

Here are 3 tips to creating peace in your spirit:

1. Anchor your Spirit. In Greek, the word spirit is derived from the word for breath, pneuma, often referred to as the breath of life. In Stoic thought, spirit is defined as the vital spirit, soul, or creative force of a person. The spirit needs a focal point, an anchor, a belief that becomes unshakeable. The anchor varies between people and their belief systems. For me, my anchor is Jesus. His anchor has stood the test of time for centuries in the lives of others. Jesus has anchored me for decades giving my spirit focus and purpose. My feelings may vary from day to day, just as I mentioned feeling a bit overwhelmed today. I know those feelings will pass and my anchor will hold.

2. Cultivate your Spirit. I don’t believe you can grow your spirit, but you can cultivate peace in your spirit. For me, that cultivation happens with consistent prayer, meditation, and practicing spiritual disciplines. For others, meditation is the key. Every day I spend time in Bible reading, prayer, journaling, and meditation. I frequently add fasting as well. Practicing these disciplines daily creates a strong sense of peace and calm in my spirit. Once a month, I spend a Day in Prayer. Setting this day aside has been life-changing for me. In the past, I would take a whole week for prayer and solitude. These daily behaviors have created a strong tether between my spirit and my anchor. When the storms of life come and the waves crash over the bow, I am confident my anchor will hold, even if my emotions sway with the waves.

3. Protect your Spirit. Protection is different than cultivation. I protect my spirit by limiting exposure to influences that could erode confidence in my anchor or the strength of my tether. I quit watching and reading the news years ago. I admit, this last year with the coronavirus, I did read more news than usual. Now, I have returned to my former habit. I try to stay informed of world events in other ways. I limit my time on social media except communities and groups. I feed my spirit with TED Talks, podcasts, and reading books. I am a non-fiction guy reading books dedicated to learning something new every day. The concept is protection and prevention. Focus on those things that bring peace, joy, and happiness. We entered 2020 planning of what we could gain and finished the year thankful for what we kept.

The world around us continues to grow unstable. We all need an anchor. We all need a strong tether. You can find peace in your spirit. If you need some help, hit me up on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

 

Shalom,

Doctor Peace

I Have a Dream for Peace

I Have a Dream for Peace

What if Americans

rose up and said, “Enough”!

I believe we have more that unites us than divides us. That was the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. He had a dream of justice achieved through peaceful means.

What if Americans chose to speak to each other, not at each other? What if we had serious and meaningful, and yes, difficult conversations about our problems? Not your problem or my problem, but our problems together as Americans.

What if Americans choose not to let news outlets or social media control their beliefs and thoughts? What if once again we could dream about an America that all people would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

What if Americans choose to build their cities into sanctuaries of peace instead of burning anger of destruction? What could we achieve to address injustice, poverty, mental illness, and homelessness if we were united and not divided?

We stand on a precipice. We face an hour of decision. What will we do? I am not talking to the politicians or the leaders of commerce. I am talking to you and me. I am talking to every American. Will we stand by and allow others to further divide us? Will we stand on the sidelines and wonder what happened? Or, will we jump in the game and become part of the solution? What can we do? What will we do?

1. We must believe in the power of one. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the course of a country, not as a politician, but as a citizen with a dream and message. He was one person with a voice for justice and peace. We have more power than you think. We must become part of the answer through our involvement in schools, neighborhoods, non-profits, businesses, city halls, and every part of our communities.

What is your passion? Where can you make a difference? Join where others have a similar passion. Volunteer at a school or non-profit. Get on a committee. Gather neighbors for fun and discussions (safely, of course). Become a foster parent. Attend city hall meetings. If we want peace, if we want unity, it means involvement. We can no longer isolate ourselves. We must be heard. Martin Luther King, Jr. began a peaceful movement that moved mountains. He was one voice that united millions.

2. We must build bridges, not walls. We must be intentional. To do nothing only allows the rift to grow and further divide us. There are forces at work that wish to divide us. We have the power to unite, to change, to move forward toward a dream of equality, justice, and peace. We build bridges when we reach out a hand, not clinch a fist. Bridges are built from both sides and met in the middle. Bridges can be of all shapes and sizes. The goal of every bridge is to bear the weight of traffic. When we build the bridge, we together create the structure to bear the weight of the problems facing our communities and nation. Let’s build bridges, not tear them down

3. We must, we must talk together. We must respect each other while not agreeing with each other. When people across the world with opposing ideologies sat down and spent a day talking to each other rather than about each other, a wonderful thing happened. People become people, not an enemy. They discovered shared experiences and celebrated their humanity. They realized peace comes one relationship at a time. And there it is. A relationship that can tear down walls and build bridges.

4. Join the PeaceWave. If you want to create more peace for you and those around you, check out my website – www.doctor-peace.com and become part of my Facebook Group. Let’s create a community of those who are creating peace!

We are far more like each other than different. There is far more that unites us than divides us. When we reach high enough, we find the things that will unite us, not divide us. We can find a common dream. A dream of a peaceful America, a safe America, a just America, a prosperous America, and a compassionate America. Let us all become dreamers!

Get Your Peace Together

Get Your Peace Together

You have heard

a similar expression right?

What would happen if you got your peace together this year? How would your life change? How would life change for others around you? What if enough people got their peace together and that peace rippled through our country?

I am starting a 3-month series devoted to helping you and others experience more peace. We will cover topics like peace with your mind, body, and spirit. We will include topics around peace with your significant other, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even random encounters. We will talk about peace with money and peace with things. Let’s get our peace together!

Anxiety is an enemy to peace. You cannot experience peace when your mind is captured by anxious thoughts. When I write this blog, our anxiety as a nation is at an all-time high of around 50%! One out of two people are experiencing abnormally high anxiety. As I examine my inner peace, I realize my anxiety is heightened. The anxiety shows up by losing sleep, thinking about exposure to COVID-19 (doctor gave me a 50/50 chance of survival), navigating the business terrain, helping aging parents, taking care of family, and the desire to impact others with peace before my death. When I stop to consider everything on my plate, there is a considerable amount of stress. I have handled stress pretty easily for most of my life. At 64, my energy level is not the same as my 40-year-old self. We all have stress and anxiety. The question? How are we dealing with it?

Anxiety can be annoying or debilitating. For me, anxiety means loss of sleep at times, lack of energy, inability to focus, and sometimes feeling a bit paralyzed. For you, it can be similar or far worse. Some people have severe anxiety making everyday life difficult. You may need medication to help settle your mind until the stress and anxiety lessens. Some need medication on a more permanent level due to biochemical imbalances in the brain.

Here are a few tips for those of us facing some anxiety:

1. Mind Dump the things you THINK about which create anxiety. I use this technique often when my mind is over active going to bed or when I wake up in the middle of the night.  You may be anxious about what you are not getting done. I need to get everything on my mind out of my head and on paper. This helps me. The next step is creating a plan of action to get things done. A realistic plan! If your plan is unrealistic, then you end up creating more stress and anxiety. Your plan must include a calendar to schedule the day and time you will get it done.

2. Think through the worst possible scenario. Now, what would be the results and how could you move forward? We often think we could not survive. We can survive, and eventually, often thrive. As a mediator, I often encounter people at some really difficult moments in life. They wonder what lies ahead. Initially, life was difficult. Then, the sky parts and the sun emerges. Life goes on. They realize many of their anxious thoughts were unfounded.

3. Meditation or Prayer daily. There are many studies to support the physical and mental health linked to meditation and prayer. I know of no other practice more helpful than exercising your mind to create stillness and peace. You need to learn to build and flex your brain muscle to bring peace and quiet. The more you practice, the faster and deeper you can go to a place of peace of mind. I will delve more into this practice in one of the future blogs.

Anxiety is the enemy of peace. Hope some of these thoughts will be helpful for you to create some peace. Let’s get our peace together changing our lives and those around us!

Shalom

Doctor Peace