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Tough Love Author Shares Tips for Surviving Holiday Gatherings

(December 05, 2011)

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- (Marketwire) -- 12/05/11 -- Paula Renaye, a professional life coach and author of "The Hardline Self Help Handbook," ( says for those of us from families built on Debbie Downer DNA, there's only one direction a mood can go during holiday get-togethers and that's down. She adds, "Whether you're the smiley face among frowners, or a bit of a Depressing Dan yourself, there are tricks you can use to keep the table talk from getting lethal."

"You can take control simply by thinking about what you choose to say -- or not say," Renaye says. "If you hear yourself criticizing, judging or complaining, you're part of the problem. Happy, self-respecting people don't find it necessary to dump on others to make themselves feel good. If someone else is the problem, simply don't give them the ammunition they need," she says. Instead try these tactics:

  • Do not say anything negative. Period. And no one-downing! One-downing is the opposite of one-upping. It's the art of coming up with something worse when someone else talks about their problem.

  • Do not talk about yourself. The only reason negative people care about what you're up to is because they want something to ridicule, brag or gossip about to make themselves look or feel good. Don't go there.

  • Do your homework and become like Teflon. Think of the times people said things that made you feel bad or made you feel the need to defend or explain yourself. If you want to avoid going down that trail again, start hacking away at the jungle of your own emotions. Get over needing anyone's approval or blessing. If you are still waiting for negative relatives to validate you, you're in for a long wait. Don't set yourself up to be miserable. Get over it and go prepared.

About Paula Renaye

Paula Renaye is a motivational speaker, certified professional life coach and a member of the International Association of Coaches. She has a background in psychology, financial planning and journalism. "The Hardline Self Help Handbook" ( is the winner of four 2011 Book Awards and is recommended by mental health professionals as "All the benefits of serious therapy in one book!"

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