“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.” – Charlotte Bronte” ‘Jane Eyre’ Fill in the blank. Holidays usually bring a variety of family members together. What happens and how they behave is what this is about. In order to understand the interactions we have to first look at the history of the people involved. Grandparents may represent the origin of the family’s value system. Of course, they are from an earlier generation but they may indeed have set the stage for all that follows. If they are respected and have lived well and wisely, they are looked to and appreciated. Then there are the parents. They may be stepparents but all that really counts is the way they relate and feel and display their feelings to one another. They will tell you by their behavior what the next generation’s marriages will be like. emotionally. Watch with care how they interact. Are they affectionate, playful, sexual, kind, or all the opposite. The house into which you were born has a flavor, if you will, and you carry that forever. What you do about it is later up to you. Then there are the siblings. They remember in their being, how they felt about one another as children and that message is engraved. Often you will see them revert emotionally to those childhood patterns. Some parents don’t know how to make loving siblings. The biggest element here is whether they have emotionally separated from the parents. If not they are children forever. It is usually during the teen years that it should occur but it may be later. It can be mild or fierce but it HAS to happen. We all want parental approval but in order to be an individual or grown up, you have to forgo a lot of it at some point. Listen to the conversations and what is said. Is the talk superficial, shallow, or just intellectual? Is emotion involved? Do you talk about what really matters in your life? Few of us have learned how to be truly comfortable and secure in our skins. Few are emotionally free and can abandon themselves in the moment, and few are mainly mature, SO what do we get? We get people who are trying to impress one another, does one-upmanship, argue about big or nonsensical things, or don’t engage at all in a real sense. There are subtle mannerisms as well, that take the form of sarcasm or joking. Hear what is said and watch the body movements. Who looks into whose eyes, who is uncomfortable and who is really empathetic and caring? Water always finds its’ level, and people are only comfortable with people like themselves. For some you might as well be speaking a foreign language; they just don’t get it. Others never want to hear anyone but themselves. Others sit in judgment as a defense from looking at themselves. Then again, you may not miss what you don’t know. It takes wide-open eyes, and minds, to connect, be interested in another, and share what matters to you. Watching TV, texting, and talking on cell phones has not helped people, let alone family members to connect on emotional levels. Being able to be comfortable in this world, with all sorts of people, and many who are vastly different from you, and your background, is a real achievement. You are no longer a narrow, limited person when you master that. Just watch the people who always have fun and people enjoying themselves with that person. We are all victims of our parents as children; their values, ideas, behaviors, and relationships. The issue is to LOOK at your life and find out what makes you joyful and then work on getting it. It is hard and scary work and can take a long time. Some, maybe most, never complete the task. We have no school to go to and doing it alone is rare. And yes, you cannot and should not love everyone!!! Being whole in this sense is a process and never ends. If you read the great philosophers and writers and truly fully developed accomplished people’s lives, you will see it… always. They may have problems and yes, difficult relationships along the way, but they basically ‘get it.’ Old scars can remain but there is salve to help heal them. Covering them with bandages does not cure; it merely hides. The wound will always be reopened. To learn to love and enjoy another person, family or not, is the goal I would wish for, for all of us!! “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love- object or its love.” – Sigmund Freud We all know that to love and be loved is the ‘It’ of life, but to first find it and then to maintain it is never […]
“One of the sources of pride in being a human being is the ability to bear present frustrations in the interests of longer purposes.” – Helen Merrill Lynd This is certainly true but how much frustration is too much? Each of us has to answer that question individually and one day may differ from another. […]
“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” – George Bernard Shaw Good advice. You can never get rid of your background and it will creep in when you least expect it. The trick is to ‘make it dance’ and make it work for you, not […]