Wanting for everyone to get along and have a good time when you get together is perfectly normal, and it’s a common desire in the people I work with. But it’s also something you have no control over and something that gets you upset when things go awry. You don’t have control over how someone else thinks, feels, or acts, and trying to control those things in another person causes a lot of frustration and exhaustion.
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You’re listening to The Coaching Your Family Relationships Podcast, Episode 59, Family Vacations and Reunions: Wanting Everyone to Get Along and Have a Good Time.
Families are full of trials and blessings. But with certain family members, it feels like it’s all trial and few blessings. I’m Tina Gosney, a family relationship coach. I’m here to help you navigate the trials and find more blessings. Each week, I’ll give you something to help you, you’ll get two takeaways. And one challenge. Knowledge action and coaching working together will help you create a stronger family relationship.
Hey, I just want to welcome all the new listeners that have joined recently. I know there’s quite a few new listeners that have been downloading each month for the last couple of months, the downloads have really increased. So I want to welcome you, I hope you’re finding so much value, and helping your family relationships, I have such a strong desire.
I feel like it’s a mission of mine to help families strengthen their relationships, to feel better about their relationships and their bonds. And to have those just be such a firm foundation, such a strong foundation for our individual lives. And you know what, that starts one person at a time, I talk a lot to the parents, because I know that parents can have such as huge impact on the culture in their family.
Now, this month, August, I don’t have any workshops going on, because I have some things going on in my personal life that need my attention. But I’ll be offering a new workshop next month. And it’s not like any workshop I’ve ever offered before, you’re going to want to stay tuned, it’s going to be really, really great, really actionable things that you can put into action that will help you do the things that I talked about in this podcast.
So stay tuned, there will be that scheduled in September. I don’t have a date for you yet. But it is coming.
And you know, in summer, we are really in family reunion family vacation season, that’s really when most of them happen. I have a friend who I was talking to the other day, and she was telling me about a daughter, that who is now a young adult, but she was telling me about this daughter, who is every time they get together as a family. This daughter happens to be she’s just as hard person to get along with.
And she said it started when she was really young. So when they would go on family outings, whether it was like a vacation, or just like to the mall or to a movie, this particular daughter was always unhappy. And she and her husband were always trying to help the daughter to be happy, like what do you need, she never wanted to eat the same thing that everybody else was eating.
So they would get her some special food or she didn’t want to do the same thing that everybody else was doing. And so they would modify activities to cater to this daughter. And it just they just did so much modification trying to make this daughter happy. The problem was that it didn’t ever make her happy. You know, they would bend over backwards trying to create happiness for this child, so that everybody would have a good time.
So that there would be good vibes going through the family as they’re doing these activities. But the daughter still was not happy in this cycle continued for years. And now like I said, this daughter, this girl is a young adult, and she still isn’t happy. She’s still looking to other people to make her happy. By the way that they’re acting, the things that they’re saying to her the things that the ways they’re reacting to her.
She didn’t learn as a child, that her thoughts, her mindset, her choices. Her feelings are hers alone. She gets to choose to be happy or not, no matter what the circumstances are going on around her.
I remember hearing a story years ago and I wish I could remember where I heard it but I really can’t. It’s just kind of stuck in my mind that someone took a trip to Cuba of all places. Can you imagine taking a vacation to Cuba, but this person went to Cuba and they were shocked because they thought they were gonna go down there and see people that were oppressed and unhappy and misery. Ball, and just like down in the dumps, but they didn’t see that they saw people that were super poor, that had really nothing, especially if you consider how we were compared to people in the United States how we are living here.
But these people, they said, were happier people than they have seen ever in their lives, even with nothing in their lives with no material possessions, with very, very little in their lives. They were still happy. circumstances don’t make people happy. Let’s just get that out right now. I circumstance, effects effect that exists in the life and your world does not make you happy.
And let’s go to family reunions and family vacations because I often hear people say, Well, I just want everyone to get along and have a good time. If I ask them, like, What’s your goal for this family reunion for this family vacation, I just want everyone to be happy, and have a good time and to get along. What’s the problem with that? Well, you have no control over whether somebody else is happy with it, what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, how they’re acting.
And let’s just talk about adults, right? There’s some, there’s a little bit of things, there’s a few things that you can do when you have children. But let’s just say there’s a family reunion, where you’ve got a lot of adults with different families coming together. You don’t have any control over how people think, feel and act.
We think we have control over we think that by doing certain things, or providing certain things are saying certain things that we can create happiness, and good thoughts and good feelings in another person, just like my friend with her daughter, right? She thought, if I can do these things, if I can change this circumstance right here, then this child will be happy.
But that situation just kept repeating itself over and over and over for many years, and the daughter was still not happy. Now let’s just look at what is circumstances, I want to get a little more clear on a circumstance. So it is a fact it’s something that exists outside of ourselves. It’s the things that somebody says to us the things that happen, the things that just exist in our world that we don’t have control over.
And what somebody else thinks feels and does, and says are things that you have zero control over. For some people, this is a really novel concept, because they think that by showing up a certain way, they can control how someone else thinks about them the way that they’re viewed by another person, but it’s just not, it’s just not possible for you to do that. We don’t have the ability to create happiness, or a good time for anyone, which is so frustrating, right?
Because especially as parents, we want to be able to create that in our kids, we want to be able to create that it worked for our family. And sometimes we put in so much effort to make that family vacation or that reunion wonderful. And it’s been planned for a long time. Often it’s been planned for a long time.
And we want it to be wonderful. And we want it to be fun. And we want everyone to come away, saying that was awesome. But we don’t have any control over that. It’s the thing that you want most that you don’t have control over. And if you don’t realize this, you’re going to cause problems for yourself. Because you’re going to try to control other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions, you’re going to be like a dog chasing its tail that never ends up catching it.
You’re going to end up exhausted, frustrated, and feeling like you haven’t achieved what you wanted out of all your efforts. So what happens when you get exhausted and frustrated? Well, probably you start being grouchy, right? You stop having loving thoughts about your family, you stop putting in effort.
And that looks like maybe you pulling back feeling like you wasted your time saying things to yourself, like no one appreciates me this isn’t fair. I put in all this effort. And now no one even cares. And now what happens? You’ve given your family, a new circumstance to deal with. Because what you do is a circumstance to them.
They get to choose how they view you as a circumstance in their own lives. Because they don’t have control over what you think feel or do and that’s what they base their thoughts, feelings and actions. Hands on now is the new circumstance that you’re giving them. So I want you to think, what circumstance Do you want to give your family even when you have no control over what they do? So by now, you might be thinking and wondering,
Well, why do I do anything if then if I have no control over it? If I have no control over how another person thinks about me, or about what I’ve done, or thinks about the activity, or feels or how they’re feeling about it, then why do I do anything? Well, you don’t do it. Because you need to control the dynamics in the family. You do do it? Because it’s who you want to be. Yes, you can’t control the other person. But you do get to say who you are. In each and every situation and circumstance in your life, you get to decide what circumstance you provide for your family.
Are you the parent who needs validation? That what you’ve done is appreciated? Are you the parent who squashes any sign of disagreement between people? Because you can’t handle any conflict? Are you the parent who will allow some conflict and thinks that, you know, it’s okay? If not everybody gets along all the time.
I don’t have to step in and try to fix everything. Do you allow everyone to be themselves, emotions, thoughts, emotions, all of that, and the messiness that comes from it. And you don’t make it mean that you did something wrong, or that your efforts failed, or that means anything else negative about you. This is what you do have control over, you have control over how you show up, you have control over the circumstance that you give another person.
And that is how you are thinking, how you are feeling and who and how you are acting. So what do you want to be thinking, feeling and doing at this family vacation, at this family reunion, decide what that is ahead of time. Those are the things that you have control over. And maybe that looks like you providing activities that have them interacting with each other, maybe the goal is you just want to spend time with the people that you love.
But decide ahead of time, how you want to be no matter what is happening. And you’re not going to be constrained to control all the family dynamics, because that’s the only way this can be successful. Because there’s really no way that you can control family dynamics. So think about what results do I have control over? What can I look forward to, that doesn’t depend on anyone else doing anything differently, other than being who they are. And after that, when things don’t go the way that you planned, because that usually does happen, right?
Take a pause, breathe deep breaths, and just allow your family to be the way that they are, allow people to show up as human beings who are not perfect, and who are not always going to get along, and who will not always agree with each other. And sometimes we’ll have some conflict. And that’s okay. Now, you might be saying, You have no idea what my son in law is like, or I have a mother in law, who causes so many problems, that if I don’t step in and try to manage that everything is going to fall apart, and everybody is just going to leave early.
Or maybe you’re saying, Well, if I don’t do everything perfectly, if I don’t try to manage everything, my kids are going to complain about it. And then I’m miserable. Because I feel like I’ve totally wasted my time. And all my kids, they don’t want to come over and do anything. Or maybe you’re the person who just hates it when someone is unhappy, like my friend, right?
And you you’re just saying I just want them to be happy and I will do anything that I need to do to make them happy. What are you saying to yourself right now when I tell you that you have no control over how other people are experiencing your family vacation or your family reunion? What are you telling yourself? Because whatever you’re telling yourself is going to get in the way of you allowing this to work in your life, allowing yourself to let everybody else be who they are without trying to manage and control it.
First one, I think I’ve said it several times. You can’t control what other people think, feel or do just I own that right now. I cannot control what other people think feel or do, including how they think, feel and act towards me, or the thing that I’ve planned.
You get to decide what you do with the circumstances that are given to you. And when I say circumstances, I mean, the situations the things that people say that other things that other people do, the things that happen that are not you, at this family vacation or reunion, you get to decide what you do with it. You also get to decide what circumstance you give to everyone else.
So what will you say? What will you think what you will you feel? What will you do? That’s the circumstance that you give to everyone else. And then they get to decide what they do with it too. Those are your two takeaways.
You don’t get to control what other people think, feel or do and decide what circumstance you want to give everyone, and what you want to do with the circumstances that are given to you.
Your Challenge for the Week:
And here’s your challenge. And this one, it sounds easy, but I really don’t think it’s easy. I think it takes a lot of concentrated effort. And that is I just want you to stop and notice when someone is not happy with you. What do you want to do? When someone expresses displeasure at something that you’ve either planned, said or done? etc?
What is your first gut reaction? Just pause and notice? Do you want to try to solve it for them? Is it intolerable for you to have someone else be giving you negative emotions that are directed towards you? Do you want to try to convince them to feel differently? Do you then go inside yourself and say terrible things to yourself? How do you react? What is your gut reaction?
This week’s challenge is just to notice what your brain wants you to do. And to notice how uncomfortable it is for you. When someone is unhappy with you, or thinks things about you that you don’t like really become aware of what happens inside your own body inside your own brain. When that happens. This is awareness about you.
And once you begin paying attention to what’s going on for you, and how you’re reacting to the things that you’re getting from other people. Once you start paying attention to it, once you start developing that awareness of yourself, you will start to see more and more of how you react to people who are not happy with you.
Maybe you’ll start to see more and more how you’re trying to control the way people think about you. And the things that you do the efforts that you take to be able to control the way that they think about you. It’s going to be very eye opening for you if you can achieve this seemingly easy. Not so easy challenge is just to stop and notice what happens in your body.
What happens in your brain. What is your gut reaction, your first reaction when someone’s not happy with you? Now what about my friend whose daughter was never happy on family vacations and family outings and just a regular old Saturday or maybe a Tuesday?
What would have happened if she and her husband had been able to allow their daughter to have her own thoughts and emotions without trying to fix that for her without trying to change her circumstances. In an effort to make their daughter happy. Well, daughter would have been able to take responsibility for her own emotions, maybe maybe she would have decided to think, feel and act differently. Maybe not. Either way, that would be her choice.
And it would not be her parents job to solve that. And maybe she and her husband would have been able to relax and to enjoy themselves more and to just live in the moment rather than live in fear that this daughter was going to cause problems in their family. And they wouldn’t have got caught up in that dog chasing the tail syndrome. They could have taken charge of their own emotional chart maturity and showed their daughter what it looks like for a healthy adult to have their own emotions and not leave it up to someone else to provide them for you.
Maybe they would have been able to model that for her Maybe that would now be a strength in her life, rather than something that she is struggling with.
So I help people do this very thing. I help people with their most difficult relationship problems. If you’ve already had a family vacation, or you’ve already had a family reunion and you’re thinking, Man, I wish I would have known this beforehand.
I want you to get on a call with me.
And I want to coach you through the circumstance that happened, and what was going on for you and how it might be different next time. So I only offer a few of these appointments each week, be sure to get your spot while you can.
I want you to go to https://tinagosney.com/apply
Now I will help you figure out how to make this work in your life. We’ll it will be a 15 minute call, we can do a lot of work in 15 minutes. And like I said before, I only offer a few of these calls each month. So make sure that you schedule yours now while you can. I want to thank you for being here today.
And I want you to remember that families and the relationships we have there can be messy. Conflicts are bound to happen and that’s okay. You don’t get to control how other people think and feel, but when you show up as a person who’s living into your values. That is everything.
Have a great day and I’ll see you next time.