Of all the relationships we will have throughout life, the one with our family might be the most challenging. We can choose our friends, but we cannot choose our family. Our family will be with us until our last day.
The difficulty with family is they choose to see us a certain way, refusing to see any other possibilities. They are comfortable with their version of who we are and like things to remain the same. This way they are not challenged to see us differently.
We may decide to remain within the box our family uses to contain us. This makes them happy, yet at a deep inner level, we are miserable. Our desire for family acceptance is stronger than our ability to live an honest and truthful life. For some reason we hold their acceptance of us in higher regard than our acceptance of ourselves.
The question we must ask ourselves is how long are we going to remain small as a way to please our family? How long can we allow their acceptance of us to be the determining factor in how successful we become? Is their opinion so important to us we are willing to give up our authentic self?
Then we turn these questions around and ask how are we limiting the way our family experiences life? Are we allowing them to seek new horizons, even though we cannot see their dreams as clearly as they do? Are we asking them to be someone they are not just to please us?
One reason families are so challenging is because no group of people knows us as well as we think we know our family. We have preconceived ideas of what our family believes, and how they think.
The difficulties arise when we realize we don’t believe or hold the same ideas as they do. Our point of view may be contrary to theirs, causing friction when we get together. At times it may be best to remain silent rather than to speak when with other family members. Our one commonality is our blood relation, that may be it.
The benefits of families are the lessons they continually teach. Because our history together may be longer than any other relationship, the lessons go deep into our past. To live a full and authentic life we must take the time to learn from these lessons, otherwise we will face them again and again in the future.
It might be difficult to see our family as a group of teachers, teaching us things we need to learn, lessons we cannot learn elsewhere. When we do shift our perspective, we can detach ourselves from any anger or frustration we may hold toward our family. Thereby allowing us to recognize the benefits of their lessons. Think back to the last time we were with family. What angered us? Did we notice any similarities in behavior? As we look back on our visit, what could we learn?
Even though we may have been raised in the same house our life experiences were different. This causes us to view the world differently as well. Can we accept our differences with love and kindness? Or, are we too obsessed with how our family treated us, refusing to see the lessons?
There is not much we can do about our family, what has happened is over. All we can do is accept our differences, then learn from them. Although it may be easy to think we can close the door on our family, we cannot. There is much to learn and we have much to teach.
Cain you love your family no matter how challenging they may be? Is it possible to recognize the lessons your family teaches? Let me know what you think. Leave a question or comment below, I’m always open to exploring the subject further.
Each week I email an article to those who have subscribed to my weekly. This week I ask the question, “What is love?” Here is an excerpt.
To love ourselves is to love who we are when we are up and feeling great, and we must love ourselves when we are at rock bottom. True self-love loves us no matter where we are on the scale of emotions. Loving ourselves no matter what is going on in life is the best we can do for ourselves and the world around us.
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Here’s a link to an article I wrote for Conscious Shift Magazine, asking do our thoughts create our life experience. Click the link to read more.
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Thank you for being a part of this wonderful adventure called life, I appreciate your support.
Peace and Well-Being, Paul