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@mamacita

Howdy, Pardners, out there in Mayo Clinic Connect Land. How are y'all today?

Here in North Alabama some of us are expecting a dusting of snow, which will utterly delight the little ones! Us older folks, not so much.

Boundaries. We all have them. We all SHOULD have them, especially when it concerns the behavior we will tolerate from others. Now, don't get too upset at me for the all caps.

I rarely use all caps. It is considered very rude to speak entirely in all caps. It raises our blood pressure, stress level, and is a trigger for all kinds of emotional disasters!

But I do so in this rarest of instances to simply state that we must not turn into doormats this holiday season. Yes, we are strong. Yes, we are grounded. Yes, we are mature adults who can handle almost any situation that is thrown our way. But….

But, should we have to? Certainly we wish to be kind and loving to everyone we know. Right? Isn't that what Mr. Rogers was trying to teach us?

Yes, we need to have a certain kind of love and respect for every single person who is placed in our lives. Unfortunately, not everyone has gotten that memo. And that is where we begin this conversation.

Really.

What do we do, just how are we supposed to show kindness and respect when some of our crew don't think like we do about such matters? Can we actually change them , mold them, fashion them into the kind of person we want to spend our time with? And if so, just how do we go about that?

Please humor this visual learner. Can you give me some visual pictures of that? What does changing another person for the better look like?

Or should we even try? What is really going on here?

Love you big,
Mamacita

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Replies to "Howdy, Pardners, out there in Mayo Clinic Connect Land. How are y'all today? Here in North..."

Gee @mamacita I must be really strange! Growing up, my large extended family got along very well ! Now, we’ve added 2 DILs and their extended families and we all love one another. Gosh!

@mamacita, thank you for opening this thread for me. My simple answer is: you can only change yourself; you cannot change anyone else. That being said:
You can change your behavior and that may encourage them to change their behavior. For example, my husband used to irritate me so badly and I was almost always in a bad mood around him. I have a laundry routine that gets 90% of the laundry sorted, washed, rinsed, dried, folded or hung up, and put away in one day. He likes to put in a few items at a time as he needs them. He taught himself how to do laundry. So . . . I would find partially dried clothes in the washer (washed and left in the washer) and moldy clothes in the dryer. I talked to him repeatedly about it, showed him and modeled the behavior I wanted. Nothing worked. So, I decided to stop trying to change him and make myself happier. Whenever I walked into the laundry room and found his "style" of washing I turned around and walked back out.
After months of NOT cleaning up the laundry room after him and making sure all laundry was done on a weekly basis I walked into the laundry room one day to see him throwing laundry around. When he saw me he chastised me for letting the laundry room get so messy. Ordinarily I would have been embarrassed and quickly pitched in to get it cleaned up. This time I said, "Every time I come in here and find dirty clothes thrown all over, washed and dried clothes in the washer, and moldy clothes in the dryer I get so mad I want to scream and hit something. So I have decided to leave the room rather than go in and clean up unnecessary messes while I'm in a rage." Then I left the room.
The laundry room is still not as clean as it could be, but there is no clothes left in the washer or dryer anymore. I have been happier and more pleasant straight through.
My suggestion is that if you feel like you are a doormat, get up, get yourself a glass of wine (or whatever) and sit with everyone else in the living room visiting or at the table waiting for food. If you are hosting 20+ people, make one thing and have everyone else bring the other parts of the meal. If you are hosting you have already put a great deal of work into cleaning and setting up for all those people. Unless, that is, you are a relative of mine who has dust that has fallen from the ledge of the window to the floor because it got too high and has left the last 2 weeks of dishes in the sinks.
Here are a couple mantras I use: (1) If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten. That means that if everyone is waiting for you to host the holiday dinner, do NOT volunteer. Plan on PBJs for your holiday meal.
(2) Stop enabling. That means that if you are putting yourself out to do something for someone else that they could very well do for themselves, you are enabling. Enabling is making something comfortable that should be uncomfortable. Don't do it! Remember to take care of yourself in at least equal portion to the care you give to other people. It's hard, but so is what you are already doing.
I am glad you posted this today, as I am faced with just such a situation today. I am putting it in another post because this one is so long already.

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