From hostility to harmony

Carol singing, shopping for gifts, decorating the house, family get-togethers… The spirit of Christmas is all around us. However, for some, Christmas can be bittersweet as broken relationships hurt the most during festivities.

If there is a broken relationship - with a sibling, parent, spouse or friend - in your life that needs healing, now is the time. Christmas is a time for celebration, salvation and reconciliation. Therefore, this season, if you really want to reconcile with the one/ s you have broken up with, go ahead and make an honest attempt at bridging the gap.

It’s in the air

“All broken relationships need a positive vibe and energy to reconcile. Christmas provides all the right ingredients to work on a broken relationship. The atmosphere is calm and soothing which is important for healing,” says Mumbai-based clinical psychologist and author Seema Hingorrany.

Seconds Dino Morea, actor and fitness entrepreneur, “Festivities are always a good time for reconciliation. Most people are in a great mood and inclined towards being more forgiving. There is an atmosphere of celebration and being happy, and making others happy.”

Season of new beginnings

For Maria Goretti, noted television host, chef and author, Christmas is a time for new beginnings. And while she believes that the spirit of the season does set the tone for positivity, she feels that when it comes to relationships, Christmas or not, deep down we all know what we want and what to let go off.

“So, if a relationship is strained beyond repair, whatever be the occasion, there is little you can do. Then, you just have to let go peacefully,” says she, matter-of-factly. And adds, “But yes, the spirit of the season does make everything feel better and nudges you in the right direction.”

Two to tango

Maria also feels that it takes two to tango. “Both parties should be on the same page. It will be difficult if only one side is ready to reconcile and the other is not.”

Agrees Seema, “Reconciliation totally depends on the functionality of a relationship and how open people are in shouldering their part of the responsibility in changing the dynamics of the relationship that was not working. It depends on how far both of them are willing to go to start afresh.”

A big hurdle in taking the first steps, however, is ego. “Usually, ego comes in the way. This is compounded by the fact that the people involved either lack healthy support or the right insight,” she adds.

Set it rights

So, how can one set the stage for repair if both sides are willing? According to Seema, the most important ingredients needed to mend a broken relationship are:

Zero Baggage: The weight of the past hurts can make it difficult to start anew. So, tough as it may be, consider letting go through forgiveness. Asking for and granting forgiveness, when done in all humility, becomes a powerful bonding experience. Perform small, daily acts that reflect your intent to forgive/ ask for forgiveness.

Commitment To Change: Healing takes place when you are open to change. Carefully articulate your feelings and commit to change behaviours that hurt the other person. For some people, this is essential before they feel capable of trusting again in the relationship.

Emotional Attunement: Defined as the ability to recognise, understand and engage with another’s emotional state, emotional attunement helps tune in towards the other person with a curious and loving heart. In intimate relationships, a lack of emotional attunement leads to unhappiness, distrust and resentment.

Communication: Failure to communicate effectively is at the core of many unsuccessful relationships. The right kind of communication can solve many problems. Develop the patience to listen even if you do not agree with the other person.

Rebuild Trust: This may happen soon or take a while. Set healthy boundaries to avoid arguments and explosions and for trust to rebuild.

Sometimes, the efforts made at reconciling can end in a much stronger relationship; sometimes they do not. Nevertheless, that does not mean you give up. Make a go at it, this season! It may just be worth it…