Energy tip #63 ’tis the season to be jolly … annoyed!

No matter what traditions you celebrate, holidays usually involve spending time with family.  For some this may feel like an embrace in the warm ‘bosom’ of loved ones but, for others, family get-togethers can be stressful.

Gift-giving and rituals are intended to be symbolic but these can also invite some insensitive behaviour that may ignite some of your less-charitable feelings.This week we hear from Emotional Quotient expert, Steph Vermeulen, on keeping your emotions in check this festive season.

Button pushing:

Remember, the family you were raised in installed these ‘buttons’ so a get-together is likely to brush up against some of your sensitivities.  To handle these tricky moments you’ll need to draw upon both your EQ and IQ skills.

The trick is to know who you are dealing with; someone who is nasty will be nasty again.  Also, get a grip on what’s your ‘stuff’ (or baggage) and what’s theirs and, when it’s their ‘stuff’, there’s no need for you to react.  If you’re up against criticism, bear in mind that criticism is the most devious means we use to make ourselves feel better – it says more about them than about you.

Emotions are Messages:

A new book by Steph, titles Personal Intelligence: Future Fit Now (see, contains an emotional dictionary that makes sense of our feelings and we can use this to choose our reactions as follows:


You’ll feel it when you’re being pushed too far. Whenever your boundaries are over-stepped, learn to say ‘no’.  If you don’t put your foot down, the issue will build into a fury that makes you feel bad and could damage the relationship.


We rage when we can’t get our own way and we rage when we’re hurt.  Instead of screaming or withdrawing, make your needs known and – if this is difficult – practise speaking up (in your mind) before family events.


We feel it when we’re alone and when we’re with other people.  If you’re facing the festivities alone, volunteer on the day as giving leads to feeling fulfilled and connected.  Pretending – or people pleasing – makes us feel lonely around others; rather connect with those who you like and nothing more than being civil is required with the people who you don’t get along with.

Keep Calm!  And be true to yourself!

Do you find family get-togethers rewarding or stressful?  Do you have any ideas to make family festivities more rewarding?  Wed love to hear from you.


More About Steph Vermeulen

In a nutshell, Steph inspires people to develop a healthy appetite for what she terms the exhilarating disruptive revolution. Three times published, she has been a leading pioneer in the field of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) for two decades. She has a passion for teaching people to grow into their potential and gives insight into the mental and emotional habits that inhibit progress while providing tools for behavioural change.


Her latest book – Personal Intelligence: Future Fit Now – published in 2015.

Published in the USA: Kill the Princess: Why Women are Still Not Free from the Quest for a Fairytale Life (2007)

Stitched-up: Who Fashions Women’s Lives (2005)

EQ: Emotional Intelligence for Everyone (1999)