I am Thankful for Judgmental Family Members…Wait, What?


Cranberry Marshmallow Salad (dishupdelish.com)

Just as you’ve barely inched your way into Grandma’s kitchen to set down the cranberry marshmallow salad, Aunt Brenda is cornering you from behind. And it’s not because you can see her frumpy silhouette and wild coiled chocolate curls (a la, the 90s perm), casting a shadow against Grandma’s kiwi colored walls.

You just know her presence. After 30 years, you’ve developed a mother’s third eye, even though you are still single and newly dumped. That’s another story Aunt Brenda will inevitably divulge in after her third glass of homemade strawberry wine and Irish whiskey shot, kudos to Uncle Mitt, the pothead flunky turned entrepreneur millionaire who happens to also be single. But that’s about all you have in common with Uncle Mitt.

But first, Aunt Brenda is going to strip away your vulnerable, thin-skinned layers of insecurities and value your self-worth. You know, your job title, your salary, your assets, your weight, your Botox secrets, and your inability to procreate.

How do you deal with judgy family members at the Thanksgiving dinner table? (Where, let me remind you, actually entails an afternoon, mid-afternoon, and evening celebratory  meal). That’s a lot of face stuffing thanklessness with people you may not like that much.

You might think deflecting your personal life on Donald Trump and the election outcome is going to solve the problem. But that seed was planted in your annoying family member’s brain long before you walked through the archway, so water it plentifully and by Christmas, you’ll have grown a thriving and beautiful Poinsettia, so long as you abide by the following rules:

  1. Don’t take anything Personally! It’s not YOU. It’s THEM. What others say and do is not because of you, rather it’s a projection of their own reality and self-worth.
  2. View him or her as a child and show compassion. If you view them as someone who is learning and growing and doesn’t know any better, it will be easier to overlook their ignorance and criticism and for you to show some compassion. After all, like children, they learned their judgmental behavior from the very people who modeled it for them.
  3. Instead of sinking to their level, learn from the behavior. Rise above your instinct to lash back and choose to showcase what you are very proud of in your present life, thereby infusing positivity and banishing negativity.
  4. Look beyond the obvious and don’t believe them. Insecure people don’t feel good about themselves and often project those deeply rooted insecurities onto others. Do you believe everything you hear at work, on the news, or within your circle of friends? So why would you believe someone who likes to tear you apart?
  5. Have an attitude of gratitude. It is Thanksgiving after all. Be happy that you are surrounded by family, friends, colleagues, and mentors or coaches who uplift you, love you, and make you shine brightly.


If you follow these words of wisdom, others will serendipitously embrace your shadow on the brightly colored wall and, like a simulated flicker, will embrace your warmth and continue to ignite your inner flame.


Sodium Chloride: keep burning!


(source: courtesy of thehacker.com & Der Messer photo credit)


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