Holidays often put us in the position to be around friends and family that we really don't like or agree with. They might annoy us, they might be weird, they might even be of the confrontational variety. They may live in a way we find difficult to digest. We might just not like to accept their imperfections. What would happen if we decided right here and now to accept folks with their imperfections. Just say to ourselves, that's just how they are and leave it at that. Now of course I am not talking about dangerous behaviors or behaviors that are unlawful and put us or our families at risks, I am talking about things like being "opinionated" maybe even a little bit "crazy" or maybe they just "brag" constantly or bring up the not so happy past. What would happen if we just decided to accept these folk as they are, no conditions, accepting that they are not as perfect as we see ourselves ?
So what if you have a father in law that is very set in his ways and wants ketchup on his mashed potatoes ! So what if your brothers children talk back and you have to listen to it for 4 hours. It will not change who you are and certainly you can use their behaviors as a wonderful example to your own children of what you don't accept without looking down your nose on your brothers short comings.
What if we acted like Christ for one holiday season and loved unconditionally !
I love the little book by Veronique Vienne " The Art of Imperfection" its a breath of fresh air to read that its o.k. to NOT be perfect. She writes in this little book..." In the Sufi tradition, there is an ancient spiritual discipline called "the path of the the blame" that exhorts you to go out of your way to justify the questionable actions of others, and even suggests you seek the company of those who don't like you.
The issue here is not forgiveness but practicality. Why should your happiness depend on the exemplary behavior of others ? Or on your own upstanding performance, for that matter ? You cannot live your life in anticipation of anyone's approval- someone else's or your own."
Further on in the book she writes, "Curb your combative nature as much as possible." Imagine if we had this mentality with extended family at the holidays !