family

“What do you want for Christmas?”

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
What with Christmas coming and being autistic, I’ve been specifically asked what I want for Christmas by a relative and I’ve no idea how to say ‘I would like X please’ without sounding rude or demanding!

realsocialskills said:

One option might be to create an Amazon wishlist. (Or a wishlist on some other platform). Then you can say “I actually have a wishlist, would you like the link?” or just email them the link if the initial ask was in an email.

That way it doesn’t seem like you’re demanding a particular thing:

  • It’s important to some people to pick the gift themselves.
  • Some people like to buy some kinds of things but not other kinds of things. 
  • (eg: Some people might not want to buy political books they disagree with, or might have an aversion to pink things, or whatever).
  • Or might have ideas about what Good Gifts are.
  • (Eg: Some people might think that stuff you need and would buy anyway isn’t a good gift.). 
  • A wish list lets them decide which kind of thing they want to buy.
  • It also gives them information about your tastes and what kinds of things you like…
  • …which lets them pick a thing that’s not on your list, based on what they think you’d like.
  • (For whatever reason, some people are more comfortable giving gifts that are their own idea).
  • Giving people options makes it more likely that one will be comfortable for them.

It also would be good to put things on the list that cost different amounts of money because:

  • People usually have an amount in mind that they want to spend.
  • But for whatever reason, it’s considered rude to talk about how much gifts cost.
  • So, unfortunately, “How much were you thinking of spending?” is a rude question.
  • But if you put things on your list that cost different amounts of money, then you don’t have to talk about that.
  • They can just look at the list and spend the amount of money they want to spend.

tl;dr Sometimes people ask what kind of present you want, and it can be awkward to answer directly. Wish lists can help, especially if you put things on the list that cost different amounts of money. Amazon wish lists work pretty well for this.

boredom shields

Anonymous said to :

re: Fights about controversial/personal issues, do you have advice for dealing with people who won’t let a conversation go?


When I say “I don’t want to talk about that" in some form, many people say “but here’s 10 reasons why you MUST talk with/listen to me on this, NOW” in some form. At family functions, it’s impossible for me to leave, and I can’t easily come up with deflections or white lies to end a conversation. (my in-laws do this and it’s breaking my family.)


realsocialskills says:


Sometimes it can work to bore them. If you make your answer inane, boring, and long-winded, it can sometimes derail the invasiveness of the things they’re saying.


eg:

  • Them: So why aren’t you married yet?
  • You: Well, a lot of reasons. First of all, my dog really needs me right now. My dog is a pure bred implausible hound. But it’s ok, I got my implausible hound from a rescue and I checked it out and it’s a real rescue. Implausible hounds can run so much faster than believable dogs! Have you ever seen an implausible hound? I almost can’t even believe they’re real dogs.
  • Them: Your sister seems to be getting very serious with that guy she’s seeing.
  • You: Yeah, I had them over the other day and they really enjoyed playing with my implausible hound. I showed them some new tricks I had taught him. It’s amazing what you can teach dogs to do. Did you know they have dogs that rescue people? MY dog doesn’t have those skills but he’s really getting good at finding my keys, at least some of the time, or at least I ask the dog where the keys are and then I find them.

and then just keep being verbose about whatever comes to mind that isn’t the topic they’re trying to make you discuss.


This doesn’t always work, but it’s very, very effective in some situations with some people. (Some of the methods in this post about deflecting fight pickers at Christmas might also be helpful.)


Anyone else want to weigh in? How do you avoid arguments with people who try to pressure you into arguing when walking away isn’t an option?

Being with family can do weird things to you

Something to be aware of if you’re with family for the holidays/break/visting/etc:


If you’ve been working on self-acceptance lately and making progress, some aspects of that are likely to be harder when you’re around family. When you visit family, you might feel bad about things you’ve learned to feel good about in other environments. That might be very frightening. It helps somewhat to know that it’s normal, and that most people struggling with self-acceptance go through this. 


It will be easier when you leave again. And, in time, as your self-acceptance solidifies, you will likely learn to hold on to it more consistently when you’re with family. This takes time and practice. It’s not your fault that it’s hard. It’s not a failure and it doesn’t mean you’re doing self-acceptance wrong. It just means that it’s hard. 


An example: If you’re fat and you’ve been learning body positivity and feeling good about yourself and your body, that’s likely to be harder to maintain while you’re visiting family. Most people aren’t in tune with that particular kind of body positivity. And some families are actively awful about it. You might feel worse during your visit, and feeling worse may linger after your visit. But it’s a temporary setback; it’s not permanent and it’s not your fault. It’s just that these things are hard, and close relationships complicate things when you’re trying to learn to live by values people you’re close to don’t share. 


It can help to actively stay connected to people who share your values while you’re visiting family. (Eg: take time to read body-postive blogs; talk to your friends; write emails.) It can also help to journal. 


And, in the words of Laura Hershey, it helps to remember that you get proud by practicing. Feeling good about stigmatized attributes you have takes time and practice. Feeling good about those things even when you’re around family members who feel bad about them is an advanced kind of pride. It takes a lot of practice to level up and feel ok even in that context. It’s hard, and that’s not your fault. You’re ok, even if you feel bad right now. 

deflecting fight-pickers at christmas

Anonymous said to :

My mother sometimes likes to pick fights at family gatherings, especially meals. She brings up controversial political opinions/things she knows many of us are uncomfortable with (she is fairly ableist, homophobic etc). I will be staying with my parents for Christmas. Do you have any advice on how to deal with this? I have tried just saying ‘I don’t want to argue about this now.’ or leaving the table when I got too uncomfortable but was called rude for doing so.


realsocialskills said:


It might be ok if people call you rude. Sometimes there’s no way to effectively assert boundaries without anyone objecting. Sometimes there’s no way to insist that people stop saying mean things without being somewhat rude. Sometimes putting up with being called rude is more tolerable than putting up with obnoxious and offensive conversation. I don’t know if that’s the kind of situation you’re in, but the possibility is worth considering. 


I don’t know who said it first, but I think the most important principle is: You don’t have to attend every argument that you are invited to. The fact that your mother insists on saying offensive things and trying to pick fights doesn’t mean that you have to argue with her about them. You get to decide what you do and don’t want to talk about.


(Especially given that it’s an established rule of polite behavior that at this kind of gathering, one should not talk about controversial topics that are liable to result in unpleasant arguing. But that would be true even if you were not at the kind of gathering where that’s a rule - you don’t have to argue with people who say offensive things unless you want to.)


That said, you might get better results from changing the subject than from leaving or saying that you don’t want to talk about a given topic. (Or you might not. It really depends on your family.)


Changing the subject can be better because:

  • If you just say you don’t want to talk about the controversial thing, it can give a new hook for arguing.
  • Then it can turn into an argument about why you’re too PC to listen to the ~obviously-true~ bigoted opinions 
  • Or how you’re rude, or censoring, or ~causing tension~ (the tension is already there; caused by the people who insist on picking fights about offensive things. It’s not your fault. But it will sometimes be convenient to blame you.)
  • If you introduce a new topic immediately, there’s something to talk about that isn’t a fight
  • That can sometimes make the path of least resistance talking about the new thing rather than fighting about the old thing

Changing the subject to something your mother consistently wants to talk about that isn’t offensive:

  • Your mother: These people I’m arbitrarily bigoted against are terrible! My tax dollars shouldn’t be going for this. Why can’t people be decent like they used to be?
  • You: How are things at work? How are things going with your new client?

Changing the subject to something that other people present want to talk about:

  • Your mother: These people I’m arbitrarily bigoted against are terrible! My tax dollars shouldn’t be paying for this. Why can’t people be decent like they used to be?
  • You: Hey, did anyone see the sportsball game last night? How amazing was the ball thrown by that sportsball player on the team that half of you root for and the rest of you hate?

Changing the subject to something a particular person present is likely to want to talk about:

  • This can work well because it shifts the center of attention to someone else, and most people like attention
  • If you’re aggressively paying attention to someone who is interested in talking about something non-offensive, it’s much harder for someone to interject with something offensive, or to call you rude

Eg:


  • Mom: People I’m arbitrarily bigoted against are ruining everything. My tax dollars shouldn’t be paying for that! People used to be decent. 
  • You: David, how are you liking the exciting new thing you just purchased? I’m thinking about upgrading mine, do you think now is a good time?


Sometimes it works better if you explicitly say that you don’t want to talk about the thing while you change the subject:

  • Your mother: These people I’m arbitrarily bigoted against are terrible! My tax dollars shouldn’t be paying for this. Why can’t people be decent like they used to be?
  • You: Mom, let’s not talk about politics. It’s Christmas. Your tree is absolutely gorgeous, where did you find those new ornaments?

tl;dr Some people like to pick fights by saying offensive things. You don’t have to argue with them if you don’t want to. One way of deflecting the fight is to change the subject. (That doesn’t always work.) Scroll up for more details and scripts.

Coming out at Christmas?

anonymous asked:
I’m planning to come out at christmas before dinner. How do I do it without it becoming awkward or making the holiday all about me? Also I’m very bad with spoken communication when I’m put on the spot or nervous so I don’t know how to deal with the string of Straight People Questions I might get.
 

realsocialskills said:

I’m not sure what kind of situation you’re in. I’m assuming that you’re gay or lesbian, that you’re probably not out to any family members, that you don’t currently live with family, and that you’re talking about a big family gathering. Some of this might not apply if I’m getting some of that wrong.

Coming out will probably be at least somewhat awkward, no matter how well it goes and no matter how you do it. Coming out to people who aren’t expecting it is inherently awkward. If you’re not sure whether or not they will react positively, it’s especially awkward. Akwardness isn’t something you are likely to be able to completely avoid. That’s not your fault. It’s a problem with our culture. 

That said, making an annoucement at a family gathering is one of the most awkward and risky ways to come out. If you make an annoucement, then you become the center of attention in a group of people whose reactions it might be hard to gauge. Also, at big family gatherings, it’s fairly likely that people will be drinking, and alchohol can greatly magnify bad reactions. For most people, coming out by making an annoucement on a holiday is a very bad idea.

There are other options that might go better:

Coming out casually in conversations with relatives who you think are likely to react well. This allows you to talk like you’re already out, rather than making an annoucement:

  • If you’ve been closested from family for a long time, you’ve probably been using linguistic tricks (like avoiding pronouns) to avoid outing yourself
  • One way to casually come out is to stop doing this, and see what happens
  • Some people will react badly, others will ask questions, others will treat it as no big deal
  • When this works, it’s the least awkward way to come out

eg:

  • Aunt Jane: Sarah, are you seeing anyone these days?
  • Sarah: No, I don’t have a girlfriend right now.

or:

  • Aunt Jane: Bill, are you still seeing Susan?
  • Bill: No, we broke up. I’m with Jason these days.

This doesn’t always work, but it can work really well.

Another option: Coming out via email ahead of time:

  • If you want to let everyone know that you’re gay without having to have a lot of awkward conversations, email has several advantages
  • If you send an email, you don’t have to be the center of everyone’s attention all at once
  • People see it when they see it, and react individually if they want to react
  • Relatives who might have a knee jerk negative reaction will have time to process. Some of them might be less inclined to be mean and more inclined to put family relationships ahead of homophobia if they have time to processes.
  • Once the actual Christmas gathering arrives, your coming out will be somewhat old news
  • If anyone has a really horrendous reaction, you will know ahead of time and will be able to take that into account when making your Christmas plans.

Consider coming out to a family member who you trust first:

  • It will be a lot easier and more comfortable if you know that someone is on your side
  • The most reliable way to be sure of this is to come out to someone you trust ahead of time
  • In particular, if you have a gay relative, it’s worth telling them that you’re gay too and asking for perspective on how to handle things.
  • But even if you don’t. If you’re relatively sure that one of your relatives will treat you well when you come out, it’s worth coming out to them first so that you won’t be alone at the gathering.

If you think you need to come out in person by making an annoucement rather than some other way, consider doing it closer to the end of the gathering.

  • If you make an annoucement early in the gathering and it goes badly, then you still have the rest of the gathering to get through
  • If you come out later in the event, the stakes are lower
  • (Eg: after dinner is likely better than before dinner)

If you can, have somewhere to go: 

  • If you’re staying with family at a big family gathering, that can get really overwhelming really quickly
  • Especially if they’re homophobic
  • Especially if things get awkward after you come out
  • If you have friends who live nearby, it could be a really good idea to make plans to spend time with them. (Or, to have that as a backup plan for if things go badly).
  • If you don’t, spending time with friends online is likely to be important. So, if you can, make sure you have reliable access to an internet-connected device while you’re at the gathering.

tl;dr Coming out is likely to be awkward no matter how you do it. This is not your fault. Coming out by making an annoucement at a family holiday gathering is probably a bad idea. Coming out more casually or emailing ahead of time might be a better idea. It helps if you identify supportive people ahead of time.

 

Anyone else want to weigh in? What ways of coming out to family members have worked well for you? Which ways have worked poorly?

 

 

 

Celebrating fake holidays

Sometimes families can’t get together on holidays or birthdays, even though they want to.


One way of dealing with this is celebrating a fake version of the holiday at a different time. 


Eg:

  • Frances: I can’t get off work for Thanksgiving this year.
  • Jeremy: Me neither. I really miss you though.
  • Frances: The airfare is really expensive anyway that week; I couldn’t afford it even if I could get time off then. Want to celebrate fake Thanksgiving the week after instead?
  • Jeremy: Ok. Can you take care of ordering the turkey? I’ll make the stuffing and pies.

Or: 

  • Susan: I’m sorry I’ll be out of the country all month. Let’s celebrate your fake birthday when I get back?
  • Heather: Yeah, let’s have a party when you get back. 
  • Susan: Cool, I’ll make you my chocolate cake, and I’ll bring you something awesome.

If you do all of the things you associate with the holiday or a birthday, it might not matter as much that you’re not able to do it, or not able to do it with family/friends on the day itself. Celebrating the fake holiday on a different day doesn’t work for everyone, but it works really well for some people.

Conversations at family gatherings

slightmayhem:

realsocialskills:

 said to :

What are appropriate topics of conversation for family gatherings during holidays? I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to talk about politics or religion, but what can you talk about?

realsocialskills said:

That depends somewhat on your family. “No politics and religion” is a rule that applies in some families but not others. The real rule is “Don’t pick fights, and steer clear of topics likely to result in people getting angry in ways that are likely to damage relationships.”

Or, to put it in more concrete terms: At a family gathering, it’s considered rude to tell someone that they’re going to hell, or that their political views are destroying the world. It’s considered rude to say something that implies that you think someone is going to hell or destroying the world, even if you don’t say so outright. It’s considered polite to be careful to avoid topics that are likely to go in that direction.

For many families, this means avoiding the topics of politics and religion altogether at extended family gatherings. When family members have strongly held conflicting views on politics and religion, talking about those topics can easily lead to fights. For some families, it makes sense to call a truce for the holidays and just get together and eat food and do things that everyone likes. 

Fighting on Christmas/Thanksgiving/other holidays isn’t likely to change anyone’s religious or political views - it just makes the holiday unpleasant. It’s ok to call a truce and fight those battles the rest of the year, when it isn’t a holiday. 

Politics and religion aren’t sources of conflict for every family. Some families have largely compatible views, and are able to discuss these things without it turning into a fight. You’re the best judge of how that works in your family.

If you’re in a family in which politics and religion are topics best avoided, there are some other popular topics:

Sports:

  • I don’t really understand the appeal of sports
  • But sports fandom is really, really popular
  • Most families contain a lot of people who like to root for sports teams
  • And family gatherings often involve watching sports games of some sort
  • If you like a team or a sport, talking about sports is probably likely to go well

Television shows and movies:

  • TV shows are a popular topic of conversation
  • Particularly currently-running popular shows
  • If you find a show that others in your family watch, or a movie they’ve also seen, you can probably discuss that show
  • (If your family gathering contains a lot of people who have a religious objection to watching R-rated movies, focus on shows/movies that aren’t sexually explicit or graphically violent)

Work:

  • People often talk about work at family gatherings, for instance:
  • Projects you’re working on at work
  • Funny or awesome things coworkers did
  • Funny or awesome things customers did

Possessions:

  • People often like to talk about stuff they have, or stuff they acquired recently
  • eg: your new iPad, an apartment you moved to, a new brand of rubber bands you discovered that are particularly good at holding bags closed, really soft shirts you just bought
  • (Be careful about this if you have a lot more money than some members of your family who will be present), bragging about wealth is considered rude

Vacations or other stuff you did:

  • Families often talk about vacations they went on, or plan to go on
  • Or some other thing they did recently, for example:
  • People who ran a marathon will probably talk about that
  • People who planted a big garden at the school they work at will probably talk about that
  • (Again, be careful about talking about expensive things if you have a lot more money than many of your family members)

The weather:

  • Talking about the weather is a cliche because people really do talk about the weather a lot as a way of making conversation
  • Eg: 
  • “Do you think it’s going to snow?”
  • “It’s so hot.”
  • “I like the way the rain sounds on the roof.”
  • “It’s so much warmer here in Florida than it is in New York.”
  • “I’m glad Grandma finally installed insulated windows.”

tl;dr Talking about politics and religion with people who don’t share your views can end poorly. Family gatherings often contain people who have equal and opposite convictions. In many families, people call a truce for the holidays and avoid those topics. Some other topics to discuss: sports, TV/movies, work, activities you’re involved in, vacations, the weather, and stuff you have and like. (Be careful about discussing expensive things that many of your relatives can’t afford.)

slightmayhem said:

It’s also nice and takes up a lot of time to ask people about their relatives who aren’t present. people generally like to talk about their personal families. (so, how is your wife? how old is your son now- what grade is he in? is he still in a band?) When you’re not sure what to ask, you can ask people questions about themselves, and just let them talk a while. (be prepared, they will often ask a similar question back at you)

Coming out at Christmas?

hobbiten:

realsocialskills:

I’m planning to come out at christmas before dinner. How do I do it without it becoming awkward or making the holiday all about me? Also I’m very bad with spoken communication when I’m put on the spot or nervous so I don’t know how to deal with the string of Straight People Questions I might get.

realsocialskills said:

I’m not sure what kind of situation you’re in. I’m assuming that you’re gay or lesbian, that you’re probably not out to any family members, that you don’t currently live with family, and that you’re talking about a big family gathering. Some of this might not apply if I’m getting some of that wrong.

Coming out will probably be at least somewhat awkward, no matter how well it goes and no matter how you do it. Coming out to people who aren’t expecting it is inherently awkward. If you’re not sure whether or not they will react positively, it’s especially awkward. Akwardness isn’t something you are likely to be able to completely avoid. That’s not your fault. It’s a problem with our culture. 

That said, making an annoucement at a family gathering is one of the most awkward and risky ways to come out. If you make an annoucement, then you become the center of attention in a group of people whose reactions it might be hard to gauge. Also, at big family gatherings, it’s fairly likely that people will be drinking, and alchohol can greatly magnify bad reactions. For most people, coming out by making an annoucement on a holiday is a very bad idea.

There are other options that might go better:

Coming out casually in conversations with relatives who you think are likely to react well. This allows you to talk like you’re already out, rather than making an annoucement:

  • If you’ve been closested from family for a long time, you’ve probably been using linguistic tricks (like avoiding pronouns) to avoid outing yourself
  • One way to casually come out is to stop doing this, and see what happens
  • Some people will react badly, others will ask questions, others will treat it as no big deal
  • When this works, it’s the least awkward way to come out

eg:

  • Aunt Jane: Sarah, are you seeing anyone these days?
  • Sarah: No, I don’t have a girlfriend right now.

or:

  • Aunt Jane: Bill, are you still seeing Susan?
  • Bill: No, we broke up. I’m with Jason these days.

This doesn’t always work, but it can work really well.

Another option: Coming out via email ahead of time:

  • If you want to let everyone know that you’re gay without having to have a lot of awkward conversations, email has several advantages
  • If you send an email, you don’t have to be the center of everyone’s attention all at once
  • People see it when they see it, and react individually if they want to react
  • Relatives who might have a knee jerk negative reaction will have time to process. Some of them might be less inclined to be mean and more inclined to put family relationships ahead of homophobia if they have time to processes.
  • Once the actual Christmas gathering arrives, your coming out will be somewhat old news
  • If anyone has a really horrendous reaction, you will know ahead of time and will be able to take that into account when making your Christmas plans.

Consider coming out to a family member who you trust first:

  • It will be a lot easier and more comfortable if you know that someone is on your side
  • The most reliable way to be sure of this is to come out to someone you trust ahead of time
  • In particular, if you have a gay relative, it’s worth telling them that you’re gay too and asking for perspective on how to handle things.
  • But even if you don’t. If you’re relatively sure that one of your relatives will treat you well when you come out, it’s worth coming out to them first so that you won’t be alone at the gathering.

If you think you need to come out in person by making an annoucement rather than some other way, consider doing it closer to the end of the gathering.

  • If you make an annoucement early in the gathering and it goes badly, then you still have the rest of the gathering to get through
  • If you come out later in the event, the stakes are lower
  • (Eg: after dinner is likely better than before dinner)

If you can, have somewhere to go: 

  • If you’re staying with family at a big family gathering, that can get really overwhelming really quickly
  • Especially if they’re homophobic
  • Especially if things get awkward after you come out
  • If you have friends who live nearby, it could be a really good idea to make plans to spend time with them. (Or, to have that as a backup plan for if things go badly).
  • If you don’t, spending time with friends online is likely to be important. So, if you can, make sure you have reliable access to an internet-connected device while you’re at the gathering.

tl;dr Coming out is likely to be awkward no matter how you do it. This is not your fault. Coming out by making an annoucement at a family holiday gathering is probably a bad idea. Coming out more casually or emailing ahead of time might be a better idea. It helps if you identify supportive people ahead of time.

Anyone else want to weigh in? What ways of coming out to family members have worked well for you? Which ways have worked poorly?

hobbiten said:

I came out to (most of) my family via a letter a couple of years ago.

I had been out to my parents, brother and a couple of others (2 cousins and one uncle) before, but wanted to come out to the rest of them as well.

So I wrote letters to everyone / every “small family”. (I.e. one to my grandparents, one to my other grandma, one to the one aunt and her family, one to the other aunt and her family…)

The letters all had a lot of stuff in common, and then some personal things to the people addressed at the end, so they knew that it was also about them and my relationship with them.

I didn’t jump right in with the coming out, but prefaced with some general “so the holidays are coming up and this is what I’ve been up to” stuff, then the coming out, then the personal stuff to the addressees and a bit more about my plans for the next weeks, just general things that I would have told them over the phone as well if we had had a casual conversation.

It went really well. I was so nervous about sending them, but I only got neutral and positive reactions. Some of them called, some emailed me, others didn’t react directly, but came up to me during the holiday celebrations, gave me a big hug and a “we love you”.

I think, as realsocialskills pointed out, coming out via a letter or email ahead of time can give everyone some time to process. I think most people can then react more calmly. Some people might feel put on the spot if you announce it in a big way during the holidays and react badly because they feel put under pressure. I think if I had come out during the celebrations, a lot of them would not have known what to say and there would have been at least a long awkward silence, as well as having the rest of the evening be slightly awkward.

It also helped me to talk about this with my friends before I did it. That way they knew what was up and would check in with me. If things had gone badly, I would have been able to call any of my friends who knew and tell them. Having someone know things might go bad and you might need some support over the telephone or email or chat is a good thing, because then they can make sure to be reachable on the occasion.

You can't fix someone's perspective

Hey there. So, I’m wondering how I can help my sister with her self esteem. She’s very beautiful, and it’s been made clear to her by many that she is, but at the end of the day she thinks herself ugly. I get really frustrated and angry with her sometimes when she does this– it’s so clear that she’s lovely, everyone knows, and it’s obvious she is. I just don’t know what to do. I want her to see how great she is, without hurting her.
realsocialskills said:
It’s hard for me to tell from your message how your sister sees herself. You’re saying that she sees herself as ugly, and you see her as beautiful. You also say that she has low self esteem, and you want her to see how great she is. I’m wondering if maybe you’re conflating issues that seem the same to you, but which seem very different to your sister.
Sometimes people who have tremendous respect for themselves as people feel ugly. Sometimes amazing, wonderful people really *are* very unattractive by conventional standards. And for some people, it’s really powerful to come to the conclusion that don’t need to be beautiful to be ok. I don’t know how the world looks to your sister, and I don’t know what she’s struggling with. But it may well be that trying to see herself as beautiful is not what’s right for your sister at this point. And really, she’s the only one who know that; you can’t tell from the outside; you can only guess.
Your sister may be struggling tremendously with her self esteem, she may be struggling to feel worthy. But it’s her struggle - you can’t do it for her, and you can’t make her do it faster. This is something she has to figure out for herself.
It’s hard to see someone you love struggle, particularly when you think you know what would solve things, if only they would listen to you. Taking over really doesn’t help though, particularly when someone’s main problem is that they don’t respect themself enough. You can’t give someone self-respect by trying to force them to override their own judgment in favor of yours, as tempting as it might seem.
You can’t take over or direct your sister’s path to self-acceptance and self-respect, but you can support her in powerful ways. The best thing you can do for your sister is to respect the way she feels about herself now and stop trying change her. 
You can’t make your sister think that she’s great. You can’t make her think that she’s beautiful.
What you can do is acknowledge that she feels ugly, and show her respect and love as she feels this way. What you can do is be with her anyway, and show her that feeling ugly will not make you abandon her. 
Don’t get angry or upset at her for not feeling good about herself. That is counterproductive. If you express exasperation with her over this, it ends up sounding like "I want you to like yourself NOW NOW NOW you’re beautiful", which on the receiving end can be heard as “I hate you for not loving yourself more”. That is the opposite of the message you’re trying to send.
I think the best thing you can do for your sister right now is accept that, right now, she doesn’t feel great about herself. Your sister’s poor self image is not an inditement of you. It’s not your job to fix it - but you can be there for her while she figures things out, on her own timeline.
You can’t try to change your sister’s self-image without hurting her. What you can do is show her the love and respect that you wish she’d show herself.

A Christmas message

In December, every aspect of mainstream culture says that Christmas is important and that it makes people happy and that it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

And for some people, that’s true.

But this can be a really hard time of year for a lot of people.

For people who are alone, it can be horrible to get messages that this is the time of year you should be with family.

For people who have family they can’t safely be with, this can be especially difficult.

And some people have family they can’t safely be with, and have to spend time with them anyway this time of year. That’s especially hard. Especially when the whole culture sends the message that all good people are close to their families this time of year.

Christmas isn’t magic. It doesn’t make any of that go away. The family you have at Christmastime is the same family you have the rest of the year. Christmas doesn’t solve that, and it’s ok to be aware that the problems are still there.

And in some families, presents are used to hurt and humiliate people. Even when presents aren’t used to hurt people, they can still be a painful reminder that family doesn’t understand you and care about what you want as much as you’d like them to. It’s ok to be sad about this. It’s not the same as being an entitled materialist. Presents can hurt, just like any other form of social interaction. If you’re being hurt, take that seriously.

And for some people, Christmas is triggering because they associate it with abuse.

It’s ok if Christmas is hard for you. It’s not your fault, and it’s not a moral failing.

And if Christmas really is wonderful for you, that’s ok and good too, and you should enjoy it as much as you can.

No matter what today is like for you, try to be good to yourself.