I love this quote on Facebook that pops up from time to time: “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power lies.”

Last time I talked about preparing a mindset for peace and conflict resolution and setting an intention to see things differently this holiday season. I was a single parent. My children are young adults out on their own now. But when they were at home they would spend one Christmas with me, and that New Years with their dad. The following year we would switch. I remember having to adapt to seeing and doing Christmas in a new way.

When the kids would be away for Christmas, come November I would find myself unsure of how to approach Christmas day. We always here, “No one should be alone at Christmas.” So I started calling close friends and saying, “Hey, I’m on my own this year for Christmas. Would you keep in mind with your plans? I’m not sure if I’m going to need to be around people or if I might just want the break on my own, but having some invitations would mean the world to me.”

Another thing I did was when the kids were away on Christmas, I just moved our Christmas up a few days. Depending on when school ended for the holidays, I might make December 21st our Christmas Eve and December 22nd our Christmas morning. On these years I also scaled Christmas down, and I have to tell you, there was a real freedom in doing Christmas up big every OTHER year! But I would have this real internal conflict set in about two months before Christmas about what that one day, December 25th, should look like.

Tomorrow I’m going to share a couple of amazing Christmas miracles that happened when I shifted my mindset to seeing Christmas differently and how I had more peace when I responded differently to my new circumstances. But for today, here are two tips and they have to do with self-awareness about your own sources of Christmas conflict.

First, when does EXTERNAL conflict affect you over the holidays? External conflict happens when we observe or experience conflict that is outside of us. This could be from turning the news or social media on, and seeing comments and debate about saying Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. It could come from standing in line next to an irate customer who is belittling a cashier or server. It can come from how much more time it takes to get around. For instance, you head out to do errands that should take 45 minutes and it takes two hours!

External conflict can trigger an internal response within your mind that affects your thoughts, feelings and robs your peace. So be aware of when your mindset for peace and conflict resolution is affected by an external conflict. What are some external conflicts you might encounter over the holidays? What is a thought-strategy you can prepare in advance?

Second, where do you have INTERNAL conflict about the holidays? Internal conflict is conflict that is personal to us. It tests our feelings, beliefs, attitudes and how we see ourselves. At Christmastime it can look like feeling pressured to be happy and to enjoy the season, and to not be alone. It can look like being afraid of hurting people’s feelings. Maybe you feel anxious because you are always wondering if everyone else is having a good time.  Internal conflict can come from spending money you don’t have and feeling obligated to attend functions and exchange gifts. It can come from being directly involved with that irate, disrespectful customer or person.

One of the biggest sources of internal conflict is not saying what you want and need and trying to hide negative feelings to avoid upsetting other or going against what is expected. So my second tip is to identify what kind of internal conflicts are  you facing? Acknowledge these stressors. Write them down. Share them with a trusted friend, advisor or conflict coach. There is a real freedom and confidence in speaking your truth. Becoming aware of your own internal Christmas conflicts is an important step to cultivating that mindset of peace and conflict resolution.

If you or someone you know could benefit from tips and encouragement for a more peaceful holiday season please like and share this post. Leave a comment or question. You can also find me on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can listen to these tips on Facebook at Sue Ogroske Conflict Management.

Sending  you lots of peace in your day.

Two Sources of Conflict At Christmas and How to Spot Them

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