Scallywag

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.

~ Barbara De Angelis ~

What’s Your Family Like?

September 24th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 11 secs

Hard as it can be, family is where it’s at.

If you want to talk about the big stuff of life, “family” is where it’s at. Nothing else comes close to the challenge of growing up together.

Yet, how do most families present themselves? Riven in crisis? Struggling to overcome relational difficulties? Or, all sweetness and light?

Most often, family dramas are kept hush-hush, so that a family’s so-called dirty laundry is hidden from view. Most likely, some of the families you know that seem to be functioning well are secretly reeling. Within family life, people hold on to their pain.

Now all of this talk of family trouble might seem out of step with a site dedicated to happiness. But that’s just it. Unless we face the realities and grow through them, happiness would be superficial at best.

Taking a look at your own family’s photos can indeed be telling. Who is standing closely together and to whom? Equally, who is standing apart? Physical proximity in social settings is a revealing clue to a family’s emotional realm. But that’s unlikely to be a big secret for family members. It’s all the people on the outside, that don’t recognize the dynamics at play.

The mother who is insecure and over-protective. The distant father who keeps remaining one step away. These may be the things of TV drama, but they’re also part of real world lives.

What do you remember of your childhood? How often did you play with your father? Did your mother spend time alone with you? Who were the listeners? And how did you feel about yourself whenever you were left alone?

We construct all sorts of explanations for why things are the way they are in our family. We tolerate, pretend, ignore, and deny. Each as a means to handle what feels too hard to confront.

Likewise, we celebrate, share, glorify, and treasure memories of family times nobody else could possibly get. You just had to be there to understand how beautiful those experiences were.

In the crucible of family relationships, we learn the lot. How to handle intimacy, how to speak our feelings or not, whether we can believe in ourselves, and so much more. Your family upbringing was a hotbed of intense experience and learning. So, it’s no exaggeration to say your family life has made you what you are today.

That means it’s worth becoming more aware of the dynamics at play in your family if you want to come to terms with it well. To understand what really happened back then and why it had a lingering impact. And, to assimilate those parts of your life that never quite connected, are wonderfully releasing things. By bringing your current understanding to the issues of your childhood experience, there’s plenty of room now for healing and celebrating.

So, take the time. Uncover what needs being seen, and love like you’ve never done before. Because, if you do, you will certainly be tapping into one of the richest veins of happiness available: your own family life.

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