The holidays are around the corner!! It’s most families’ favorite time of the year. Unfortunately, whether it is Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa you may be one of those women over 50 who is running into difficult issues. The best cure-all is compromising when necessary.
Be open to compromising
Unless a situation arises that is against my principles I am never adverse to compromise. It strikes a positive balance and the secret to all positive relationships is compromise. When you compromise you are not conceding, you are cooperating; you are a person who believes in the give-and-take theory that having a relationship laced with camaraderie, especially with family and friends, is the link that brings peace and joy. Women over 50 should know that compromising over the holidays is the happy medium for success. But often times they don’t and their actions will create reactions that will undermine the spirit of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa holidays.
Is it always worth it to ‘speak your mind’?
Remember the scene in the movie when a family feud erupts over who will cut the turkey? It was an amazing scene and showed the fragility of family relationships; of all relationships. The function of a family Thanksgiving dinner was destroyed over the interference of a verbal decision. The person in charge for years of cutting the family turkey said ‘I will now cut the turkey,’ when another family member said, “No, I will cut the turkey!” That was all it took! Dinner ruined. Fights erupted. Families took sides. The movie scene showed the importance of thinking twice before talking once!
And, darling, that is what I want you to consider if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Ask yourself if it is worth it to speak out or worth more to hold your tongue and compromise.
A few days ago, I recall mentioning to my ultimate concierge, “If my life revolved around fewer people I would have fewer problems! When I am alone with you and America and play symphony music on my Google Nest Hub, I am at peace.” I can ‘ simply be.’
But such is not life and people need people, including me. Therefore, darling, our technique in learning to compromise becomes very important. The decision to compromise is the best road to take especially over the holidays and truthfully throughout our life, as long as we are not compromised.
People are far more confrontational and far more silent since the virus hit our shores. It is especially fruitful to think twice before speaking once and opening up when you are troubled especially over the holidays. Consider your risks by asking yourself a few questions before making any decision.
- The first question I ask myself is, “ Is putting in my two cents worth the risk?
- The second question I ask myself is, “Will my opinion make a difference or add fuel to the fire?
- The third question: How can silence be correct when my thoughts are meaningful?
Darling, as you know, we are forced to make daily decisions. Over the next month and a half, more than any other time of year you will be forced into a decision-making mode. Remember to use your compromising skills.
A few examples of compromising
I recall, walking into my daughter Jenny’s home, a few years ago, the day before Thanksgiving. I wrote about her Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday. What I walked into was a scene from nowhere! Her beautiful home was in shambles! Decorations, pots and pans, grocery bags filled with food, and the dog’s food bowl in the middle of the den! You name it was the most disorganized scene I had ever witnessed! It was a war zone. Did I open my mouth? No! Instead, I walked in with a smile on my face while making sure I did not trip on a decoration or cord and break my neck! My ultimate concierge rolled his eyes at me and America ran to play with three golden retrievers who were in the middle of the scene!
What good would it have done if I talked? It would have caused an argument and that is just what she did not need. Instead, I laughed and smiled and lent a helping hand. Her Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous. The house was perfect. It was an evening of peace and family love that could have gone South if I had opened my mouth! I compromised my feelings because it felt right. Again, I listened to my heart…it knows.
If you are a woman over 50 who sees holiday unpleasantness in the foreground, now is the time to put on your positive compromising hat! It is a powerful feeling to be able to have the wear with all to compromise. It is a strength, never a weakness.
Here are some worthwhile Honey tips on compromising.
- My house or the highway: I want it at ‘my house!’ Compromise, darling. Alternate holidays. Have a conversation to determine which holidays you will each take. If the two families live near each other, maybe dinner at one home and pumpkin or pecan pie at the other.
- House divided: When two families are celebrating the same holiday, divide your time. Firstly, talk to each family. Thanksgiving at one home? Hanukkah and Christmas or Kwanzaa at another home? This takes skill and with family distance coming into play there are other creative ways to compromise. After the age of 50, I am sure you should be able to discern your route.
- Boundaries: Remember, setting boundaries has nothing to do with love. Boundaries are principles you identify for yourself and your family. Know your limitations. It can be hard but speak up in a calm, yet direct manner.
- Toxicity: When dealing with difficult and toxic family situations have realistic expectations. If you cut them out of your life completely, you will exchange one set of problems for another other so I suggest you practice tolerance. Remember, it is only for a few hours that you have to be in control of your actions.
- Arguing between partners: Every marriage is supposed to be a partnership. Successful partnerships compromise. If you have a dominant spouse, who only will go to his or her home you probably have a crisis over the holidays. First, understand why. Then point out that the children or grands need to spend time with both families. Or better yet, have a joint holiday if personalities and distance allow. You can actually solve the problem and have both families at your home with everyone contributing. Then you and your hubby are in charge of your event and more importantly, you have compromised.
Everyone should have a chair at a table over the holidays
I think it is important when you are alone over the holidays to make a game plan. In my mind being alone means being totally alone or alone with your spouse but no other family members or friends to celebrate traditional occasions.
We usually travel to Arizona for the holiday. Not this year. Fortunately, over the years I have built a close relationship with my ultimate concierge’s family. I feel very close to my sister-in-law and her children. My niece Julie is having a large crowd and invited us. We are excited to spend the holiday with them.
In return, we invited them to spend Hanukkah with us! They are excited and everyone is looking forward.
We are celebrating the New Year in Atlanta. A family wedding!!! How exciting. I am hoping our daughter-in-law Jami will fly into Chicago to spend a few days with us and then travel to Atlanta, too.
For those of you who are waiting make a plan. No one should be lonely over the holidays. Here are some suggestions to get you in the mood to reach out in a time of need.
- Make plans outside your home: You could pick up the phone and invite someone or a few friends to join you. Have a plan in mind before the call. A concert and then a festive restaurant for dinner sounds like a marvelous idea.
- Make home plans: You can invite friends and acquaintances who are also alone into your home and celebrate. They will be so grateful, as will you. Often times celebrating with a friend or a few friends is more enjoyable than family gatherings.
- Reset your mindset: The holiday does not have to be about sitting with relatives! So, if you are alone, consider getting a plane ticket and flying off to see an old friend. Takes some effort but is worth the investment. Or volunteer at a food kitchen! You never know who you will meet. The list of ideas goes on. Be creative.
My final thoughts on compromising
Darling, we know a compromise is never as good as a consensus. I am smiling. Therefore when a consensus is out of the question a compromise is usually worthwhile, as long as you are not compromising your values or your ethics.
My theory is: If you compromise your values or ethics in order to keep the peace you are playing a risky game.
On the other hand: During the holidays with personalities at times raging and ethics not involved, I suggest taking a big bite out of life with a smile on your face and compromising. No one will be hurt, only helped, and you will feel good about your decision. It never hurts to give more. It always hurts when you give less.
Compromise through concession on both sides is a win win.
When I consider a compromise that I know is substandard, I take my time and weigh my odds. I mentioned a few situations above.
The holidays are once a year. You are not repeatedly giving in to another person(s) stick so this type of compromise will not create long-term problems. I see your compromise as a healthy way to react during the holidays. Actually, your compromise is a blessing and one you should take pride in and feel grateful that you are this type of woman after 50.
When is a time you had to compromise to keep the peace? Was it the right call?
Last year my husband and I were invited to my sisters for Christmas, as we have been most years. We are childless, so the holidays spent together have always meant a lot (25+ years). Last year, my sister asked in early Nov. If we wanted to participate in a gift exchange with the adults in her family. I said yes and to let me know the details. I never heard anything further, and honestly forgot about it. Christmas Eve arrived and we drove the 35 minutes to get to their home. They also invited over a few neighbors and we were all enjoying each others
company when her daughter arrived with her family. About 10 minutes later, my sisters entire family left my husband and their 2 sets of neighbors and went to another area of their home to open their gifts. Needless to say, I was speechless, embarrassed, and completely hurt. Her neighbors asked what they were doing, and I said apparently opening doing a family gift exchange. In my mind, I thought this was the most inconsiderate and cruel act to put on their guests. Instead of leaving while they were in another area of their home, I waited until they joined us all again and announced we were leaving. I didn’t want to create a scene and wished everyone a nice Christmas. My heart was broken and has remained broken for their actions. We have been involved in their lives since their children were born and their oldest is 38. Reflecting back on my life involving my sister, she has always been very selfish. I love her dearly, but that act itself destroyed my relationship with her and I will never put myself in a situation again that will allow her to do that. Her other guests and I tried to make the best of it, but it was very apparent that they felt the same way.
I hope you and your sister have repaired your relationship. Love should always win out of anger. I tried to do what you asked ( you know what I mean) I did not know how. Warmly, Honey
What’s the name of the movie?
I don’t remember. So sorry. Google it. Ask about the Italian family movie that revolved around an argument cutting the turkey. Warmly, Honey