Book: Reflections

Reflections - bringing attention to your daily life by Désirée Steinmann

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Reflections of the Week

Christmas Without Conflict - Part 1

2011-12-03 08:26 (comments: 0)

Christmas is the peak season of conflict and emotional stress. What is the reason for it? Let’s take a better look at how we spend this holiday. We pack those few days chock-full of visits, activities, eating and drinking, expectations, memories and gatherings etc. It’s almost like running a marathon without having trained for it. In many cases the Christmas season brings back the memories of the past confrontations with family members.  The inevitable closeness sometimes provokes confrontations, and at the first trace of trouble we press each other’s buttons.

During the holidays our routines get disrupted, we move less and have less time for ourselves. We overtax our bodies with much too much food and drink, and to make things worse, we often don’t get enough sleep. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. On top of all this we often have to deal with high expectations of the parents, the children or the siblings, and if we happen to have some family members whose behavior isn’t exactly constructive, it can be quite difficult indeed to celebrate a merry Christmas.

So what can we do to stay serene and relaxed during the holiday season? You will find some tips in this and in the following newsletters: 

Set clear boundaries!

There are many ways to do this. Identify the areas in which your boundaries get crossed every year. Perhaps there is somebody who tells you what to do or what not to do. Perhaps somebody tries to interfere in your affairs in spite of your wishes. If this is the case, it is time to put an end to this.   Instead of fighting this person, remind him or her in very clear and calm way that this is your matter, not theirs, and inform them what you have decided to do or not to do about it and ask this person not to comment on this anymore. Try to remain calm and restrain yourself from attacking this person because this will only escalate the situation. The best way to deal with such unsolicited “advice” is to clearly set the boundaries and to stick to them. Try a simple statement like this: “It seems to be important to you that we raise our children this way.  We have decided to raise our children differently and I need to ask you to please accept our decision and to stop reproaching us. Thank you very much for understanding.” If this person starts to preach you again, simply repeat your statement. Perhaps it hasn’t sunk in yet. Stay calm and stand your ground. You can practice this well with your friends or with a coach.

Another way to set clear boundaries needs to happen in your mind.   It is called “Don’t take everything personally!”. For example, if your father announces his opinion then it’s only just that, his opinion.  It is not the only truth, it is not the only right thing to do and it has nothing to do with you. It is simply his opinion. This opinion can influence you and cause you to react only when you identify yourself with it. Try to take the opinions of others for what they are, that is other people’s opinions. Double check what you think-this is your opinion then-, and if your opinion is different than the opinion of others then so be it! You are fully entitled to having different opinions, just like you are fully entitled to liking different colors. Your preferences needn’t be benchmarked against those of the others; they just need to be acknowledged.

You take your decisions and your father takes his decisions and that is all there is to it. No reason to fight! If your father continues to interfere or gets angry with you, then it’s his problem. You can watch with empathy how difficult it is for him to let go and you can still stand your ground.

In my next newsletter we will analyze another issue: understanding underlying issue! Enjoy practicing your assertiveness and if you would like to prepare for difficult conversations, please call me! I still have a few appointments free until 17 December 2011.




Being assertive does not mean attacking or ignoring others feelings. It means that you are willing to hold up for yourself fairly-without attacking others.  

Albert Ellis, Michael Abrams, Lidia Dengelegi


Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.  

Martin Luther King Jr.


In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

Tao Te Ching



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Reflections -  make this your Christmas Present! 

(Before it is available in every book shop!)

Reflections - Bringing Attention to Your Everyday Life!

by Desiree Steinmann


If you enjoy my Reflections of the Week, you will also enjoy my new book! It is a "bed-side" book with space to journal yourself and to reflect on your life, your goals and your advancement in all areas of your life. This book contains past letters and thoughts that seemed to be most popular with my readership. This book is also a wonderful gift to someone you love or someone who would love some inspiration.

Click here to order it directely through my website!

(The English book is now also in stock on amazon)

ATTENTION: This book is now available at Orell Füssli THE BOOKSHOP at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich!


Success Group Meeting  


If you always wanted to join a success group to become more successful, have super thinking partners and draw on the expertise of high caliber like minded people, this is your chance to come and see what this can do for you.

I am hosting a sub-group of the Professional Women’s Group in Zürich and would like to invite you.

For more information please go to: or contact me directly. Looking forward to meeting you there!

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