About the Episode:
We have a lot to be Thankful for, especially after the last few years. But, why are Family Tensions running so high? Shouldn’t we FINALLY be coming together in generosity and gratitude as a family?
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What’s Shakin, Welcome back to ALL IN and Happy Thanksgiving.
Hey, this is gonna be an awesome show because we’re going to talk about some things today, you’re probably listening to this in the morning, I would think before you head out to some family functions.
I’m going to ask you to share this with three people because this is going to resonate with you. And the only way we grow and help more people is with your help. Thank you for sharing.
Now, let’s talk about the holidays. Okay, because we’re in thanksgiving right now. And I can always find a lot to be thankful for no matter what my situation is in life. I’ve been through some pretty heavy stuff. If you have listened to the show for a while, you know that you’ve heard my stories upon stories upon stories about evolving and growing through things.
Today, we’re going to talk about though, tensions at Thanksgiving, and specifically family tensions or friend tensions if it’s a Friendsgiving. And there’s this thing around the holidays, where there’s this obligation that you might feel, to be with family members or show up a certain way.
It just starts to eat away at you before you even arrive at that Thanksgiving dinner table. I’ve been there, my family used to always go over when I was young, we used to go over to my uncle’s place. And it was a lot of fun. But I can’t freakin tell you one thing that I did not like, when I was 10-12 years old, I would notice that there would always be some kind of disagreement, some kind of tension at these meals.
I remember Christmas day too, which is coming up in a few weeks. We would always go to my grandmother’s, which was my mom’s sorry, my dad’s mom.
It was just an interesting time, because there’s always these disagreements that take place. And I don’t know why people like to save these things to talk about them until the holidays, because even the best of families that always get along, or friends that always seem to get along, there’s sometimes stuff that comes up, but they feel like they want to air their grievances and disagreements at Holiday family gatherings.
A couple of years after I got married, we were trying to bounce around four different homes. That can be a stressor too.
So by the time I think one Thanksgiving, I had been to four different homes.
By the time you get to that third or fourth home, you’re pretty much spent. Emotionally you’re spent. Mentally you just want to go to sleep or you want to be away from the people that you should want to be around versus trying to bring yourself to show up in a specific way for other people. That obligation that I’m talking about.
There can be tensions in arguments around the Thanksgiving giving dinner table. One of those things. I’m sure that’s going to come up because especially after the last couple years that we’ve had, is going to be politics.
This is something actually even with all the family disagreements and tensions that I’ve had over the years, politics has never really been something that’s come up much around the holidays. It comes up other times, but not necessarily around the holidays.
Let’s be straight. Okay, let’s be real talk here. There’s a lot to disagree about. Right? There’s a lot that’s going on politically, that whether you’re for the current administration against it, or maybe Yesterday, you were for it, and today, you’re against it, there’s been a lot that’s taken place over the last 18-24 months around politics that there is going to be to disagree with and there’s all these very major issues that are taking place right now.
We had the Afghanistan read withdrawal. We have everything of course around the pandemic, we have the new G 20 summit that just happened, we have cybersecurity which is my field in how Americans continue to get hacked and what the government is doing or not doing about it. There’s a lot to disagree with.
Another one I know this year is talking about the frickin vaccine. Right? And that’s another one that’s gonna pop up. You know, I hate you know what, I’ve been vaccinated. I don’t mind sharing that. I got it for international travel. That’s okay. And I still had COVID twice, go freaking figure, right.
But either way people are going to have these disagreements around whether you should be whether you shouldn’t be if it works, if it doesn’t work, if you should wear a mask, if you shouldn’t wear a mask, some people might even show up with the masks your Thanksgiving dinner, or I’m sure there’s some families that are out there that are saying, hey, you know what, if you want to come over, you need to be vaccinated. There’s already these tensions that have probably even started to build before we even got to today.
It’s crazy, because it’s almost like planting the seed for those disagreements before they even happen like you’re expecting those. And I’m going to talk about that in a little bit as far as how to navigate these family tensions at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Another one this year. Divorce – I know that divorce rates over the pandemic are up. They’re accelerated actually, I mean, people kind of got stuck. I’ve had guests on the show about this about any relationships and Rebecca Zung around, you know, divorcing a narcissist or you’re married to a narcissist. And you might not have even recognized that this wasn’t the person that you wanted to be with, until you were stuck in the home with them for however many months during all the lockdowns that took place last year. So now this year is a different dynamic relationally.
Maybe you have kids, and now you have to go to different homes, or your kids spend one, one part of the Thanksgiving Day at your house, and then they have to go to your ex spouse’s house for the afternoon. These are new dynamics. And obviously, they can create tensions.
These are real things. Let’s be straight up here. Okay. All these three things that I talked about, there’s probably a plethora more you like that word. I don’t know if I’ve used that yet anywhere in the 200 episodes we’ve done here. There’s probably a plethora, a whole bunch more issues that could potentially come up. Besides these. And these are three major ones. But there’s a lot more than I’m sure that can come up.
We’re talking politics, vaccinations, maybe a new divorce or changing relationship, it could even be like a new husband or wife that shows up to the dinner table this time around. That just causes tensions for whatever reason, because it’s new. It’s different people don’t like seeing differently. They like the comfortability, and that happens.
Let’s talk about how to navigate this. There’s really three different ways that you can approach these things.
And the first way, and you’re probably going to say, Hey, Rick, you don’t know my sister, Rick, you don’t know my dad. And you know, I don’t. But the way that you show up, will help create the environment that you want to have on Thanksgiving. Today.
The way that you show up is what can create the environments, of course, the other party has responsibility too, but you must take that lead.
I know in a lot of family conflicts, one person is typically always waiting on the other person to make the first move towards reconciliation, to extend that olive branch.
I’m going to tell you today, if you’re listening to this, this is like the universe telling you right now that it’s supposed to be you. Okay, it’s supposed to be you, that makes that first move. Let’s talk about how you can do that.
Here’s a couple of ways that have always worked for me. This takes effort to this takes mental tenacity sometimes, because of how you show up because of you know, the condition of the other person, but let’s be for real.
There’s a lot of real talk on this show today. That other person is probably a good person, you know, that family member. And I’m pretty sure that if you’re listening to this, you know, there might be a few exceptions, but I’m pretty sure that you do love and care for that person.
The first thing is to always assume good intentions.
That’s going to be tough. Because even though that person might be looking to pick a fight, if you come to the party, not looking to pick that fight, or you’re assuming that when that person brings it up, you know, let’s say they have a different perspective, right? We’re if they’re talking about the vaccine, you may not have had a friend or a family member, or an extended relationship. Somebody died from that. That’s possible.
That’s me. I have not had anyone that is close to me die from COVID. Not one.
There’s probably a lot that are in my boat. But there’s probably a lot I know there’s a lot that are in the other boat where they do know somebody that was close to them that they loved and cared for that did die from COVID. So when they come to this, think about this, they might be coming to this with good intentions because they actually care about you, and they don’t want you to get sick, which is why they’re saying maybe you need to think about this, you know, now granted, if they show up and they’re like, Oh, get the vaccine, get the vaccine, get the vaccine, that’s all they’re at. That’s, that’s okay. They can think that way. As long as there’s mutual respect, but the thing is, is that try to assume that the other member of your family has good intentions, with everything that they say.
Anything beyond that when it doesn’t sound like good intentions could be them speaking from a trauma, like I talked about to where they might have had somebody close to them that passed away from this.
Always assume that they have good intentions for you. And for everybody else that’s around that table, when you start to think that way, you can start to hear what they say differently. Because you might hear something to where it sounds like a sharp tone, or them yelling at you. And that’s not actually what they’re doing. Because if you can just look them in the eyes, open your heart and hear them – assuming that every word that comes out of their mouth, is from a place of good intentions, you can shift that conversation and completely melt all those tensions, before anything even happens.
You might want to try just giving your family a hug to maybe it’s been a while for this, since you’ve showed up, you know, because you’re already expecting this before you go in there. And there might already be a disagreement from a week ago, two weeks ago, this is the time for you to make that first move.
Walk in there, your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your niece, your nephew, your aunt, your uncle, whoever. And as soon as you see them, melt them with how much you care for them by just giving them a hug. A real hug. And you know what, don’t let go until they let go. That’s a little secret I’m going to give you – just feel them. And don’t let go, don’t just like go in a little pat on the back. But give them a real hug. And don’t let go until they let go. They will feel how genuine you are in that moment and watch the tension just melt away.
Here’s number two, you must give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they have a unique perspective on something, you know, if it’s politics or something like that. An example, I talk with my family about politics here and there. And not another member of my immediate family can say, hey, I went to the White House last year, because I did, I went to the White House. And I was sitting amongst members of the administration around AI Security for our borders around human trafficking. And I saw the demeanor of everybody that was there and how, even though it was an election year, they didn’t care that it was an election year, all they wanted to do was get the right thing done for the country, it was an amazing mentality.
Obviously, we had administration shift between last Thanksgiving and this Thanksgiving. I know that under the last administration, it wasn’t a thing about politics, when I was in the White House consulting with the administration, it was just about doing the right thing for the country. So I can bring a unique perspective to the conversation around that Thanksgiving dinner table, because I quite literally was there, nobody else was there.
If somebody that, you know, in your family has that unique perspective, you know, give them the benefit of the doubt, they might be able to enlighten you to something. So if you’re always open to something else that somebody else has to say, and this is just always in life, you should have this, always be ready to challenge everything that you hear. And back it up with proof and truth.
Always be ready to challenge though, because even between the last time you thought you knew something, it could have been true back then. But things might have changed in the world, in your life in somebody else’s life to where right now, all of a sudden, there might be a new perspective that can be provided to you to help you, or you could give a new perspective to that other family member. So give them the benefit of the doubt.
Here’s number three that you’re going to want to know that other person will always believe just as much as you do. This is insight, they will believe just as much as you do that their point of view is correct.
And of course, probably hands went up as you’re listening to this right. Oh, yeah. You know, my mom, she’s always right. That’s what she feels. My dad, he’s always slamming down the hammer. You know what banging his glass around, because he’s the one that always thinks that he’s right. Nobody else can be right. He’s never wrong. You know what that could be. But they’re never wrong until they’re wrong.
At some point in time, you know, people sometimes say that, “they wouldnt know the truth if it bit them in the face.” You know, that’s an old frickin saying.
I don’t even know where I pulled it out of my butt crack or something right now.
I’ve heard that saying before, and that could be true with some people. But you know what, for most of you, when they truly love and care about you, they can listen to you. But understand that this point right here, they will believe that their point of view is correct. Just as much as you do.
So if you come to this from a position of truth, yeah, and just say, Hey, I’d love to hear what you have to say about this. And you know, what would you mind hearing me too?
Setting that level playing field. And here’s another secret, right? Because you could be true and right. And they can also be true and right at the same time, because of the different viewpoints that you have. That’s a unique situation right there. And in those moments, you’ve heard the phrase agree to disagree.
It goes beyond that. It’s agreeing to hear what the other has to say, and taking in and understanding that that is true for them. Their viewpoint is true for them in this moment. But you know what, after you talk in a very loving and uplifting way, their truth could potentially change or yours could potentially change, because now you have this new point of view that you never had before.
So it’s, I hope that you go in today and you have amazing food, you have amazing conversation with all of your family members, and just know that the tensions don’t have to be there. And it’s your choice. Because you’re listening to this today. It’s your choice to set the tone when you go to these meals today, when you go to these homes today with all these different dynamics.
Now, you know, and you’ve got no excuse, okay? You have no excuse because you listen to this today on how you know that you need to show up to that Thanksgiving dinner today. And you are the one that can extend that olive branch because the other person probably won’t and it’s up to you today to set that tone and I know that you can do it, crush it today, have some good food and happy Thanksgiving.