RE-lax. Don’t RE-act. Tips for RE-lationships this Holiday Season.

Little things irritate me.  Do they irritate you?  Stupid things.  Unimportant things.

Like people chomping apples when you’re not.  (You can relate, can you?  Well, then, you’ll want to read about misophonia.  Yeah.  It has a name.)

Or rudely driving below the speed limit in front of you when you’re late.  (You did know that’s why it irritates you, right?  It’s rude.  I mean people have places to go and be, and just because somebody doesn’t, doesn’t mean they should drive slowly in front of us and keep us from getting where we need to be on time.  I mean, it takes me 12 minutes and 32.125 seconds to get to dance class, and that’s how long I’ve allotted.  No more.  No less.  My kid shouldn’t be late due to some driver’s disrespect now should they?)

Or asking what’s for supper.  (Does it matter?  You’ll have to eat it anyhow.  I’m not making anything else.  And, frankly, I don’t even know, so don’t ask.)

However, this is not where or how I want to be in this matter!  And I firmly believe that we don’t have to stay where we don’t want to be.  We have the power to invoke change, if not a tangible change, certainly a mental one.  Kind of like that Thoreau quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  I see–I see–I see a calm, peaceful, controlled, and open mom, wife, friend, and daughter.  (No, not me.  Literally.  I’m watching The Waltons.)

The Holidays are upon us.  Tensions will run high due to overloaded schedules, overloaded expectations, and overloaded populations in small houses.  People are going to irritate us more (and more and more and more).  Try using the R and E method to keep relationships productive and not destructive.  Use it throughout the next month and one week.  And then keep right on using it all year-long.


When you want to RE-ACT.

RE-SIST.  Stop.

RE-LAX the shoulders.  The jaw.  And the brain.  Some people truly have no idea how they come across.  Some people do.  Maybe Bob’s doing it on purpose, and maybe Bob’s not.

Don’t RE-AD (read) into questions or statements or motives.  Don’t.  Too many misunderstandings happen right here.  But neither brush things under the rug to let hard thoughts fester.  Not good.  Take some comments at face value.  (Your mini-van is a mess.  Yes, it is.  Your shoes were expensive.  Yes, they were.  Your mom is difficult.  Yeah, sometimes she can be.  I don’t make corn casserole that way.  No, you don’t.  I’m tired.  Okay.)

RE-PHRASE the question or statement that bothers you so you can determine what the other person is really feeling. This way you don’t look like an idiot if you misunderstood what the person was saying and you overreact, and the situation escalates.  This also applies to looks that you think people gave you.  The goal is to calmly learn how the other person’s brain ticks.  There should be NO edginess, whining, or high pitch to your voice.  If there is, you’re not doing it right.  Start over. (My mini-van is a mess, but is there a reason you want to tell me?  My shoes cost too much–are you worried about our budget?  Mom likes things done her way–can we still go home for Christmas?  I didn’t know how you made corn casserole, do you mind if I make it my way?)

RE-MEMBER to listen to all answers and not react.  Discuss.  Ask more probing questions to learn about the other person and their feelings.  Again, if there is edginess, whining, or a high pitch to your voice, you’re not doing it right.  Start over if necessary.

RE-CEIVE your fault in the situation.  This is the ouchy part, but if we

  • RELAX,
  • don’t READ,
  • REPHRASE, and
  • REMEMBER to listen, and
  • REPEAT as needed,

we are more likely to see if we need to own up.  (The van is messy, but I’ve been feeling too lazy to clean it.  My shoes did cost too much, and I know it wasn’t good timing to buy them.  You’re tired.  I know I’ve over committed our schedule.)

Don’t settle to be where you are in any area of life that really counts.  Always listen.  Always learn.  Always laugh.  Always move forward.  People are important, not things and appearances.  RE-member the “RE”s.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!




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