Release the Elephants! How to Avoid Family Drama During the Holidays

Release the Elephants! How to Avoid Family Drama During the Holidays

Here’s how to shift your perspective and let go of the upsets family drama can bring. Especially now at this time of year when things seem particularly challenging.

Nothing brings on the elephants like a holiday season.

(do you know that saying, the elephant in the living room?)

The elephant stands there in the middle of the room while people gather around and pretend it isn’t there.

The elephant seems to be blowing a trumpet of truth and discomfort and sometimes even leaves you yukky “presents” on the floor… but mostly we act like it is not happening. But on the inside, most of us know it is.

I’ve been passing out a mantra like candy this week: Free the elephants, free the elephants!

So, what if we could just set the elephants free? You may have never thought of opening the door and setting them free. Instead of feeling bothered and concerned about the thing nobody ever seems to acknowledge, you could just open the door and say: Go on, little elephant, go.

Instead of feeling like the only sane one in the room, you could stop the vigil. You could just stop. You could let that little elephant (or the whole herd) go.

Is there any chance you could practice not letting it bother you?

Can you enjoy it being good enough? Can you let go of needing this ALL to be solved before you can enjoy the holiday? This year, what if we could allow ourselves permission to choose ‘good enough’ in the name of our own peace?

What if you could find a way to let go in the name of moving forward?

No, this isn’t a tiny hairball you’ve been worshiping, I know that. This is real stuff, big stuff. Family drama is like that. But still, this thing is preventing you from enjoying yourself. It is wreaking havoc inside you in a way which is not healthy or helpful. And I am interested in seeing you set free without you needing the other person to do anything. That person to be nice to you or admit to their errors or own the way they broke your trust or even you getting a group consensus that YES that person is indeed an idiot.

Release the Elephants! How to Avoid Family Drama During the Holidays

I want to see you choose peace and freedom right now. Regardless of the bad things. Regardless of the idiots. Regardless of the apology which has never ever come. I want you to choose peace anyway. I want to see you get on with your beautiful day, or the holiday, or the rest of your freaking life without being held up by that elephant.

I don’t like to use the V word.

V for victim. You and I are not victims. Yet (and I’ll just speak for myself here) it has been very convenient for me to blame my inability to move forward on someone else. It has been convenient for me to allow myself to go on believing that someone else has ruined my day, my week, my year, my life. I have believed I was robbed of my peace and could not have it back until that person owned their part in what happened. I could not move on.

I too have people close to me–relatives and close friends–where Big Ticket Issues have gone down and our movements together are not as smooth and easy as I’d like them to be. At times it is very hard to make eye contact with these people at times I feel like a wild animal who cannot sit still in her chair at the dinner table. Major hurt has happened, major betrayal and there are parts of me still pissed and in the process of waking up.


Release the Elephants! How to Avoid Family Drama During the HolidaysI choose to set the elephants free.

I choose. It’s not easy but I choose. In the name of claiming my beautiful life, I choose.

Yep, it’s not perfect but it’s pretty hard to go around insisting that everyone own up to everything so I can feel seen and heard, validated and in the right before I can move forward.

And at times, letting go has felt so heartbreaking. I have cried and cried more than I care to admit to you. I have gotten lost in wanting and needing people to admit to their shit… and then remembered this lesson all over again.

I have found freedom in realizing that these pieces might never get resolved in the way that satisfies the part of us which is hurting right now (or offended or angry or feels betrayed or abandoned…) it’s possible that part of us which is seeking will never find a resolution.

It is possible that the people who seem to hold so much power will never be awake enough to give us what we are seeking. This is all heartbreaking to me and still, the truth will set us free.

We have a choice.

We can be right or we can let go.

YES, there are people who are best loved from a distance (and I am the first person to tell you that life shouldn’t be an endurance contest) but I am not talking about those people here. I am talking about family and your close friends where things have happened and it’s still not perfect but you WANT to be with these people.

Do this for yourself and no one else.

I am thinking so much of my dad right now, the anniversary of his death was just last week. Our very last conversation was an argument. I was trying to get him to understand–just one more time–how I felt abandoned and betrayed, ignored and unloved. It was an ugly conversation and my efforts failed again.

And so I let go. I set that elephant free. Finally, I understood that the thing I thought I needed was never ever going to come. Heartbreaking but freeing too.

Release the Elephants! How to Avoid Family Drama During the Holidays
my dad and me, our last holiday together

Happiness is an inside job. We cannot ever be free as long as we insist our freedom comes from someone else. It doesn’t. You don’t do this to condone anyone else’s behavior, you do it to make room in your own heart. You do this to make peace with yourself.

There will probably always be some unaddressed drama.

I think it’s very important to allow ourselves to get clear on what the elephant is to us. Just what exactly is the upset? Don’t dismiss it, listen to it. And then stay present long enough in the painful space inquire gently just what it is we are seeking from that person. Do they need to admit to something? Do they need to acknowledge what happened? Do you need an apology? What is it, sweetie? What do you need in order to move on? Love yourself enough to inquire inside and get free.

People say it all the time: life is short.

YES it is. Don’t waste precious moments, days, weeks, months, years allowing the unspoken things get in the way of you living your life. Remember that some conversations can last a lifetime… it doesn’t all have to get solved here and now.

I loved what Wayne Dyer said this week on Facebook:

If you find yourself looking forward to the end of the holiday season instead of the beginning, here’s a call to shift gears and reclaim what should be a time of appreciation, excitement, joy, and peace. Make up your mind that this is going to be your happiest Christmas ever. Your decision to emphasize the positive can reclaim a season that is supposed to bring out the best in us, rather than do us in. The truth is that this time of year offers us a wonderful opportunity to rekindle the spirit of love and living life to the fullest.

Free the elephants! Are you with me?

I am sending you so much love right now, you got this!


Release the Elephants! How to Avoid Family Drama During the Holidays



Read my recent interview in Mystic Magazine here: