Surviving Your Family With Grace

Surviving Thanksgiving with

Let’s face it. Family gatherings are not always roses and cotton candy. For some families, they’re masked balls, with everyone straining to maintain a façade of harmony. For others, they’re Wild West shootouts. It is so easy to see the glaring shortcomings in our family members during the holidays.  The argument that has been festering below the surface for year, suddenly explodes during the passing of the pumpkin pie.

Did you know that our mindset can influence how we handle our family and the holidays?  Carol Dweck, PhD talks about two types of mindsets that pervade our lives. There are two types of mindsets: a “fixed” or a “growth” mindset.  Our beliefs or mindset can fuel our behavior (good or bad) and much of this understanding is revealed in Dr. Dweck’s provocative book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.  She explores how our conscious and unconscious beliefs can shape our thinking and have a profound impact on our lives.

When you have a “fixed” mindset, you validate yourself by judging or evaluating others.  You view imperfections as shameful failures or defects.  For example, you view your Uncle Joe’s incessant complaining as an indictment on his character.  Or your boyfriend’s inability to shower you with affirmations may not be the true measure of his love, but a communication issue.

When you have a “growth” mindset, you see these characteristics as informative.  You embrace their quirks and shortcomings as a part of who they are and not a failure.  You see the difference as informative and an opportunity to stretch your ability to love.  These revelations become constructive and nourishing.

So how can you get beyond Aunt Mary’s uncanny talent for getting on your last nerve?  Anxious to practice a “growth” mindset this holiday and get through the dessert successfully sans the annual blow up?

Try some of these tips.

1. Pause.  Find a quite place and create balance.

2. Consider smaller portions. Plan to visit only for appetizers or dessert.

3. Get the inside scoop. If you are a guest at a Friendsgiving or visiting your significant other’s family, seek information on the issues or dynamics that tend to come up in their family.

4. Dig deeper. How do you contribute to the tension? Can you adjust your understanding of other points of view?   How might this circumstance stretch you?

5. Seek to understand. Get to the heart of things by asking questions in a relaxed, open, non-defensive way. Read Sharon Ellison’s Taking the War Out of Our Words or Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

6. Be prepared. Holiday-related emotions may arrive early. Recognizing the source can help you deal with them more effectively.

7. Take care of yourself. If the atmosphere isn’t safe, leave. Gather with friends, do volunteer work or pamper yourself.

8. Phone a friend. Debrief after the visit with someone you trust.

9. Be patient. Real change—in you and in your family and friends —takes time.

10. Be gracious. Aim for maturity and compassion in dealing with family situations.

Take a moment to think about what you are grateful for despite the tension that may occur.  This could be a perfect opportunity to appreciate the positive things you have in your life and stretch your thinking as well!


With love & wonder,



PRAISE for my bestseller book, Cultivating Joy is rolling in:

The sweet spot of your joy rests between the worst day of your life and the best day of your life. It is the e-ticket to your truth, your highest calling, and your authentic self. Cultivating Joy eloquently shares passages of spirited women authorsbrave moments of tragedy to triumph. Linda Joy has an uncanny way of bringing poignant moments in our lives, gift-wrapped in her book, where you will discover the howto your true joy.

Jackie Ruka , America’s Happyologist; author of the best-selling book, Get Happy and Create a Kick -Butt Life! And Founder of the

This collection of stories will ignite a new sense of wonder and awe, helping you reconnect to your best self with joy as your inspirational compass.

Shannon Kaiser, the Joy Guru and best-selling author of Adventures for Your Soul


Connecting with other people through the stories of their inspirational journeys is one of the most uplifting blessings I can think ofand Cultivating Joy is a beautiful resource that does exactly that. Linda Joy has a talent for compiling stories that touch, comfort, and inspire, and I have no doubt that Cultivating Joy will help many on their journeys.”

Dina Proctor, best-selling author of Madly Chasing Peace: How I Went from Hell to Happy in 9 Minutes a Day and creator of 3×3 Meditation

Cultivating Joy shares touching and triumphant stories from women of all ages. This book shows us that joy is available in every moment and situation if we only open our eyes and behold its beauty. Read this book and be uplifted.

Amy Leigh Mercree, author of The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex and Soul Mates


With warmth, humor, and courage, the stories shared in Cultivating Joy will touch your heart and transform your life. No matter where you are on your journey, the deeply personal stories shared in this book will inspire you to invite more joy into your daily routine. Infinite love and gratitude to the extraordinary women who contributed their stories to Cultivating Joy.”

Shann Vander Leek, Transformation Goddess, Best-selling author, Award-winning podcaster, and producer of the Divine Feminine Spotlight Series and Goddess Talk Sessions.

Even more praise can be found here. And you can meet my co-authors too!


About Angela

Angela M. Joyner, PhD is the Founder of The Wonder Loft, a positive leadership coaching practice for women. Through her writing, teaching, and curating unique workshop experiences, Angela helps women discover their unique brilliance, have more confidence and flourish. Her mission is to nourish the minds and souls of women around the world. Learn more at

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