Stay Inspired Around Relatives

The most important word in the phrase “Inspiration as a Lifestyle” is the word “Lifestyle”

It is one thing to say you want to practice something.

It is another thing to actually make your practice a part of your lifestyle.

A true vegetarian will not eat meat just because Mom’s Christmas ham is too good to miss.

A true yogi will not stop practicing their yoga just because they are not near their local studio during the holidays.

A true “inspiration seeker” will not cease searching for inspiration because they are near enough relatives to fill a circus car.

The Holidays are here.
Family is near.
It is easy to get triggered when you around those who you hold dear.

Oh what a wonderful time it is for ugly emotional-reflexes to sneak up on you.

If you are someone who chooses a lifestyle full of receiving and giving inspiration, these nuggets may be good to keep tucked away in your mind as you sit around the fireplace this week, in the home you grew up, with people who may have in the past made you downright bonkers.

Do you want to practice inspiration? Keep in mind, that people are inspired by things that relate back to them. Being open to another person, not only can serve YOU with an unexpected inspirational burst, but a plateful of empathy can serve OTHERS a lifetime of solace and connection.

Here are 9 ways you can stay inspirational while around your relatives:


1) Ask open ended questions:

Great Aunt Jill may be considered crazy by the rest of the family, but perhaps she has a perspective on life that will open your eyes to new ideas. Asking questions as simple as “What was it like to grow up during that period?” or “How do you think that played a role in your life?” or “What do you think would have caused dad and other relatives to do that?”

2) Seek to understand another point of view:

Even if you disagree with Uncle Ernie’s politics or views on God, challenge yourself to understand where his ideas come from. You don’t have to agree with him, but you can stay open to a new point of view. When you feel like screaming back in protest, keep in mind this is part of your practice. You are not here to change his belief system, you are here to expand yourself.

3) Find an opportunity to have someone feel heard:

Little beings are often dismissed at the holidays. Talk to them, repeat back what you heard them say. Actually, listen. Slow down. Taking that 1 extra minute to let someone speak may mean the entire world to them and perhaps it will deepen your mind.

4) Get off the friggin’ phone:

Be present. Need I say more? I know you are addicted to the damn device, put it down for a few minutes. Try to be present.

5) Say nothing at all:

You may be known in the family as the one who always has something to say. Maybe this year is the year to listen more than you speak.

6) Apologize:

Drop the ego. Perhaps you hurt someone 10 days ago, 10 months ago or even 10 years ago. Does it really matter who was right? Forgiveness and acceptance are two of the most powerful tools to rebuild connections.

7) Find the gratitude:

During in the most stressful of times you can find something to be grateful for. Even in people that hurt you, you can still find the gratitude. Maybe they gave you life, or maybe they inadvertently helped you become a stronger person, regardless of the fact that they suck. Silently find the moments of gratitude. Be a gratitude ninja. No one needs to know that you are seeking the gratitude in private. Gratitude is an inward experience, it does not need to be shared.

8) Don’t take it personally:

Whatever Cousin Gill thinks. It is his problem. It is not about you.

9) Remember the intention for the tradition:

What is the tradition about? Why do you all get together every year? Are there spiritual undertones to the holidays for you? Is this a time for family to be present to one another? Maybe there is no set intention for the holidays.  However, here is what you can do.  YOU can set your own intention. Walk into the holidays this week with something you want to give. It may be something invisible. Setting an intention gives you something specific to strive for.

Your openness and attempts to connect with your relatives will not always be received. It is not your job to force someone to change their patterns. The goal is to be the best version of yourself at every possible instance. That is why a lifestyle is a practice. Nothing is mastered. We are humans. Nothing is perfect, However as a human, we have an amazing gift of re-directing our focus at a moments notice.

You may not be perfect at keeping your inspiration-hat on, but you certainly can continue to re-program yourself to be the best version of you, even during family gatherings. And that, to me, is inspiring.

Celebrating The Legacy of You,
Michael Ian


– Call someone, right now, and talk about how you will use the Holidays in a way you never used them before. Get your mind moving on this. Don’t keep your secret to yourself. Get it out in the open and see what type of conversation you can create around the power of being present for your relatives. 


– Want your office team to inspire your customers? I’d love to talk to you more about how I can help. Shoot me an E-Mail Me.

Join my Gratitude Slam closed group on Facebook. It’s a free community that practices the power of focusing on the positive.



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