It's holiday time! What a joyous time of year. Right? Well, for many, holiday gatherings symbolize struggles with family members who we tend to avoid the rest of the year.

This holiday season I would like to invite you to see your family gatherings as wonderful opportunities to heal. Instead of being in resistance to that aunt that makes you wince every time your hear her voice, or to your mom who literally drives you nuts with her compulsive nagging, or to your dad who is a master at judging your decisions, think of them all as gifts.

Imagine this scenario. You've just arrived at your mom's home for the holidays. Immediately she begins to boss you around and tell you how to do things. Your body tightens and you feel as if you're about to have an emotional outburst. No longer is your holiday a joyous one. Now it is a struggle.

Instead of resisting your mom, excuse yourself, and begin to give thanks for the healing that is taking place. If you're thinking that there is no escape, go to the bathroom! No one will bother you there. Lock the door, sit down and breathe, continually saying, "Thank you, God. I know there is a gift here. I open myself up to receive it."

Allow yourself to settle down, visualizing the crown of your head opening up like a camera lens to receive messages from the universe, and then become an observer to this situation with your mom.

Imagine your mom standing in front of you. See her inner child, the five-year-old little girl inside of her, standing next to her. Ask, "Mom, what's hurting inside of you? What are you afraid of?"

Allow your mom's inner child to speak to you. If you find yourself grasping at an answer, breathe, and open yourself up again. Talk to your mom's inner child just as you would to a friend's kid or their little brother or sister. Allow this little girl to express all of her fears. As you do, you begin to realize that your mom's bossiness is really the little girl inside of her hurting and screaming out for help. By creating this conversation, you open your heart to compassion for your Mom and the wounded little child within her. Your anger begins to dissipate. Your holiday healing is well under way!

Now it's time to open another present. Ask your mom's inner child, "What are you teaching me? What is the gift that you are trying to give me?"

Imagine that child handing you a beautiful scroll and allow it to unroll. Read the message on it. Is your mom's spirit trying to teach you how to stand up for yourself? Is she helping you to open your heart to compassion? Does your mom remind you of the judgment you have on yourself? See the gift that your mom is giving you and celebrate it! Your mom is a beautiful spirit who is playing her part perfectly, helping you connect to your heart.

We are all spirits first having a human experience. Every relationship in your life, whether good or bad, is based in a spiritual agreement between you and the other person. You are here to help each other grow and evolve. So remember this: family holiday gatherings don't have to be tough. The person you dread the most is your greatest teacher and is helping you remember who you are.

Author's Bio: 

Terri Amos-Britt is the author of The Enlightened Mom: A Mother’s Guide for Bringing Peace, Love & Light to Your Family’s Life, Winner of the 2011 Best Spiritual Book Award at both NY and San Francisco Book Festivals. Terri is also the author of Message Sent, as well as co-author of A Juicy, Joyful Life and Wake Up Women. She is the founder of www.TheEnlightenedMom.com, a global community created to celebrate and support moms. Terri is a spiritual coach, relationship expert and motivational speaker. She shares her experiences as a wife, mom, stepmom, former Miss USA and television host, teaching moms tools to create lives of peace, abundance and joy, setting the tone for their families to heal. Terri says, “When mom heals, the family heals…the world heals.” To purchase The Enlightened Mom and its 25 companion guided meditations, go to www.TheEnlightenedMom.com/book.