29 Jun

Dealing with Difficult Family Members

Let’s face it we all have them! With summer holidays in full swing it means barbeques and family get togethers.  We know that not all families are perfect and it is likely that you have at least one family member who can be a bit challenging if not outright difficult.

Live Bold Bloom shared some great strategies that we’d like to expand on.  Believe it or not, our difficult family member is likely unhappy and unsatisfied with things in their own life.  Be kind and show them that you care.  Take a minute to listen and help them find some good in their day.  Modelling positive behaviour and gratitude for life demonstrates there can be good in all situations.  This type of behaviour may help them reframe what is going on for them and help them find that silver lining.  It will also lower your own stress levels.

If positivity fails then we may need to look a bit deeper. Sometimes we need to protect ourselves from negative people and their dark energy.  Creating boundaries can be difficult but gratifying when we set and maintain them.  Limit the time you spend with them and don’t feel you need to make apologies.  Your wellness is important and practicing good self care is important. Set a time limit on how long you can stay at the family birthday and stick to it. Talk to family members you enjoy being with and limit your exposure to others.

While it can be easy to fall into the trap of engaging in their bad habits, be mindful.  If you find yourself gossiping about your 3rd cousin, stop and excuse yourself from the conversation.  Take time to reboot and adjust your attitude.  We all know that nothing good can come from a negative attitude so just hit the re-set button and go back to your positive boundaries and behaviour.

Our last thought is to give yourself permission to let go of the notion that there is such a thing as an “ideal” family.  Embrace the family you have in all its’ quirkiness. Whatever you do just remember that a little humor can always serve you well at that family reunion.


06 Jun

Book Review: Option B: Finding Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy

Option B: Finding Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy,

Authors: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Alfred Knopf, New York 2017

This recent publication is co-authored by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook who shares her personal experience of the sudden death of her husband Dave, while vacationing in Mexico.  Co-author, Adam Grant is her friend and psychologist at Wharton.  Together they merge the personal and the professional.  It is filled with heartfelt stories of loss but also some very practical tips.

As an independent woman who is used to getting things done and leading others, the author has to open herself up to the support and help of friends and family. With this tragic loss she is faced with parenting and living her life on her own.

The book is peppered with stories of others who experienced adversity.  Each story speaks to how they built resilience and the coping strategies that worked for them.  Sheryl relates her own story as she learns that Option A is no longer available and that she must now choose Option B.  Simple strategies are shared, new family rules that all feelings are okay, choosing to find good in each day, no matter how difficult and likely the most difficult lesson of all, to ask for help when you need it.  As a parent she uses this to focus on building resilience in her children, to become emotionally healthy adults in the future.

The income of this book is being donated to OptionB.org    This non profit initiative helps others build resilience in the face of adversity.  The website talks about sharing stories, becoming connected and building resilience.

A good anecdotal read on the twisty, turning road through the journey of grief. Practical and reflective, this is a book for others who have experienced loss.  Available to purchase at your local bookstore, online and in audible format.


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