For many people, the holiday season is a joyous time to reunite with family and friends. However, reuniting also means inevitably coming across family you’ve never quite agreed with. Conflict and differing opinions are bound to come up, whether it’s lingering post-election disagreement or a nagging disapproval of your career choice. Whatever issues come up this holiday season, it’s important to practice tolerance so you and your family can make it through the holiday season happy and unscathed.
Practice respectful discourse. This means having a calm and respectful conversations with the friend or family member you disagree with. Learn more about their position and why they think or act the way they do. Then, explain your position. Also, make sure you really listen when they speak. Don’t just nod your head and tune them out, don’t cut them off and don’t scoff or roll your eyes.
Put yourself in their shoes. Perhaps you don’t understand why an issue is important to a certain family member or you have trouble grasping how they acquired their opinion. Try seeing the issue from their perspective. Imagine how that issue could directly affect them and what impact that has on their everyday life. Also keep in mind a person’s background. Maybe your cousin grew up in Texas and you grew up in Vermont. You both have very unique upbringings that shaped who you are. Consider how different their life has been why trying to understand your differing opinions.
Accept your differences and move on. When all else fails, accept that you and your family won’t agree on everything and move on. Agree to disagree and don’t let it affect the time you have together. You don’t have to like everything about your family, but you do need to accept who they are and focus on the things you do have in common. Enjoy a nice meal together, avoid hot button issues and say farewell until the next holiday gathering.
Now that you know how to practice tolerance at home, learn more about tolerance in the workplace with Next Step Academy’s NEW course “Tolerance.”