Issue#20| December 2010------------------------------------------Trouble Viewing Email? - Click Here

Today’s Topic: Balancing connection and boundaries at Christmas

Dear friends,

Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate ALL that loving relationships entail - the good, the bad and everything in-between! It's all part of our evolution and growth as loving human beings on this planet.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me. I appreciate all of the feed-back I've received over the year and love staying connected with you in this way.

May the power of Love shine brightly in your world this holiday season,


Something to think about

Happiness equals reality minus expectations.

~Tom Magliozzi

A fine balance

Christmas can be wonderful and it can also be stressful. After decades of celebrating this annual holiday I am still learning the fine art of balancing the pressures with the joy. Along the way I've discovered some strategies that help me stay grounded and receptive to all the love that is trying to happen at this special time of year.

Because Christmas is so rife with expectations and family history, it is easy to become enmeshed in the needs and desires of others. It can be challenging to hang onto one's centre and sense of self, when expectations are many and everyone's emotions are running high. Some people fall into old patterns of "people pleasing", some may become aggressive, while others want to run for the hills. I believe emotional maturity involves balancing our autonomy with our desire for connection with others. Striking that balance is a life-long learning process.

I'd like to share some Christmas strategies to which I aspire each year. They are designed to help us foster connection with loved ones during the holiday season, while maintaining healthy boundaries. I invite you to experiment with the ones that resonate for you.

On Christmas invitations and activities:
  • Consult your loved ones regarding shared plans and activities. Find out what is important to them.
  • Take the feelings of others into consideration in your decision-making, without abandoning your own desires and needs. Look for the win-win.
  • If you choose to adapt your preferences in response to others, commit to do so freely and without resentment.
  • Give yourself permission to accept OR decline invitations. Remember: You always have a choice.
On spending:
  • Create a Christmas spending plan (in consultation with your partner) and stick to it. (This includes how much you spend on each other.)
  • Determine what spending is appropriate to your budget and your values, without caving in to perceived expectations from others. Remember: Your value and worth as a person does not equate with your ability to buy expensive gifts. A gift from the heart has no set price tag.
On selecting gifts:
  • Trust your choice of gifts. Don't waste time second-guessing yourself or trying to mind-read what will "make" the other person happy.
  • Take pleasure in your gift-giving. Let go of expecting the person receiving your gift to react or respond in a particular way.
On sharing the preparations with your partner/family:
  • Make clear, clean requests for what you need.
  • Don't expect others to read your mind regarding the help you need - or resent it when they don't.
  • Give others the room to accept and decline your requests, without emotional punishment or blackmail.
On family meals and traditions:
  • Share the workload. If hosting, let your guests know how they can contribute to the meal. If you are a guest, ask your host how you can contribute.
  • Realize that Christmas traditions may differ and make space for the traditions/preferences of others.
  • Be prepared to roll with unexpected changes. There's bound to be some!
  • Make room for differing opinions and viewpoints during mealtime discussions - enjoy the diversity of personalities and perspectives!
On feeling gratitude:
  • Before Christmas Day, make a list of EVERYTHING in your life that you are thankful for. This can powerfully shift your focus from to-do lists to gratitude.
  • Use the giving of gifts as an opportunity to feel and express your love and appreciation to those whom you love.
  • LET IN the love (and hugs!) from others.
Invitation to action
    Pick one or more strategies that appeal to you and experiment with them over the Christmas season. Notice what works and the difference they make to your holiday joy.
Shirley’s Update:

As a Christmas gift, David Steele, the founder of the Relationship Coaching Institute, is offering a limited number of free copies of his book Conscious Dating. This is a unique resource for singles and one that I use in my relationship coaching. If you'd like a copy for yourself or to give as a gift, go to:

I love to coach single and divorced men and women, who may feel discouraged in their quest to find a partner. Call or email today to take advantage of my complimentary introductory session. Find out how I can help you build a foundation for relationship success, avoid pitfalls from the past, and create a game plan for finding lasting love.

Shirley Vollett BSW PCC is a Life and Relationship Coach, with over 20 years of combined experience in counselling and coaching. She delights in helping pro-active individuals make positive changes in their lives, their work/business and their relationships. Her clients appreciate her ability to listen deeply, her compassionate wisdom and her support in staying focused. Contact Shirley for a complimentary intro phone session. If you are experiencing a challenge or are eager to make some changes, explore how coaching works and how she can help. Click on a link below or visit her website at
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Copyright © 2010 by Shirley Vollett. All rights reserved.