As we approach the holiday season it is easy to fall prey to the “oh come on, it’s Christmastime,” “One cookie never killed anyone,” “Don’t you want to try my homemade banana bread?” It is incredibly hard when family and friends take your positive food choice as a personal rejection. When the polite “No thank you,” does not seem to quiet the groaning, how do you maintain appropriate compassion while maintaining a healthy boundary that you’ve set for yourself?
Oftentimes, that banana bread was not JUST a baked good, but an expression of love and so a person may feel hurt when you decide to make a choice not to indulge. Rejection never feels good. It hurts. Just think about it.
Affirming their feelings and acknowledge that your choice may in fact “hurt” their feelings, apologizing for any hurt feelings and continuing to politely decline is the best tactic. It may sound a little cheeseball but a little word love goes a long way with people! It is okay if someone feels whatever they are feeling (it is a feeling), that doesn’t mean that you have to cave in to their demand because their thoughts and feelings are different from yours.
So a conversation could go a little something like this:
Mom: Sweetie, aren’t you going to have some of my banana bread? It was always your favorite.
You: No thank you mom.
Mom: (Sad look on her face) Oh, okay. Are you sure? It is Christmas. A little indulgence never hurt anyone.
You: Mom, I can tell that you are disappointed. I am so sorry to disappoint you, I love you very much and I am happy to spend this time of year with you. I enjoy so many things about this season.
I admit I am really bad at creating random dialogue….I will stick to my day job and not pursue a career as a screenwriter. Stick to what you feel is best, even when it may seem like the unpopular choice!