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How To Turn Holiday Drama Into Holiday Compassion: Part 1

Holidays are supposed to be a festive time of gathering, celebrating, and enjoying our loved ones. And there can be a ton of drama. Relatives crammed into a small space, expectations running high, and you never know when someone is going to get offended or bring up that topic that always leads to arguments.

Here in the U.S. we’ve just completed mid-term elections, so there’s plenty of politics to discuss. Whether your family is one who can talk openly about hot topics like politics, or chooses to “agree to disagree” to keep the peace, it’s often tough to keep drama from sucking the festivity right out of the room. Here are the first two tips for keeping yourself sane this holiday season. Tune in next week for three more tips to bring compassion to your holiday season.

1. Focus on commonalities

The political climate has been focused almost exclusively on what divides us. With family and friends, you have so much more that unites you, that you have in common. Don’t let your party affiliation or candidate preference cause amnesia for the wonderful things you have in common.

2. Show curiosity

Whether you agree or disagree, asking curious questions helps lower tensions. People mostly just want to be heard. It’s much more important to listen curiously to them than to agree with them. When people don’t feel heard, that’s usually when they escalate.

There is no easy way through the unrest and upheaval we are experiencing in our world today. I truly believe we won’t make it if we continue to divide and attack and blame each other. This applies to family too. This holiday, practice compassion, and you will have a lot more positive energy.

Things to ponder

  • Are the holidays a time of drama for you? Would you like to change that?
  • What are the most positive things you have in common with your relatives?
  • What could you learn if you were just curious with no other expectations?
How To Turn Holiday Drama Into Holiday Compassion: Part 1

Nathan Regier

Nate Regier, PhD is CEO and Co-founding owner of Next Element, a global leadership communication firm specializing in building cultures of Compassionate Accountability®. A former practicing clinical psychologist, Dr. Regier splits his time between writing, speaking, training, consulting, and developing Next Element's global network of certified trainers. He is co-developer of the Leading Out of Drama® training and coaching system for positive conflict, and has authored two books on drama and conflict; Beyond Drama: Transcending Energy Vampires, and Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide For Leading With Compassionate Accountability. Nate is a certifying master trainer in the Process Communication Model®. He lives in Newton, KS, is married and has three daughters. Learn more about Conflict Without Casualties here.

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APA Reference
Regier, N. (2018). How To Turn Holiday Drama Into Holiday Compassion: Part 1. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Nov 2018
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