How many people do you know spent this Christmas doing exactly what they wanted and with the people they wanted to spend it with? Christmas sometimes highlights an issue that I’m fascinated about. It’s a controversial subject as it challenges a core human value that ‘Family is everything’. We’ve all seen the quotes like this one……..
Way back when, people were not only born into a family but a tribe of other relatives, all cohabiting the same land, reliant on that unit for everything! Without easy access to other cultures, other traditions, other cities, countries or even continents, family stayed with family. Family was everything. The ability to meet other people, be exposed to other cultures or different ways of thinking were a huge limitation. We used to be confined to the life in which we were born.
Now fast forward 100’s of years and it’s still common that people don’t leave the area they grew up in and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you’re lucky enough to have made a happy life in one place and if you’re lucky enough to have been born into a harmonious family that also couples as friends, soul mates, companions etc… that’s great!
The flip side of this scenario is one that I see more and more; people battling to live up to the crippling expectation to have great relationships with family. Enduring difficult family relations. The world and all its glory is so much more accessible today. It’s wide open for us, as individuals, to explore and with that, the likelihood of meeting people who are aligned to us or are our kindred spirits is so much greater than it was. Yet we’ve not altered the expectation we put on our blood relationships. So many people force themselves to spend Christmas in a situation that makes them sad or uncomfortable because ‘we should be with our families at this time of year’. There’s something wonderful and to be admired in families that are strong, united and unconditional with their love but for those of you that aren’t in this position, finding a way to be at peace and choosing to accept your personal situation is one of the toughest and yet most liberating decisions you CAN make. Sometimes, our chosen friends are the new family.
So in 2020, if you’ve been battling a failing family relationship whether that be a mother, father, sibling, son, daughter or marriage; I urge you to get some help. I use a very successful strategy with lots of my clients called ‘Speak Up, Shut Up or Leave’. In this scenario ‘speak up’ would be getting help, initially to repair that relationship. ‘Shut up’ would be to continue to keep the peace by accepting that you don’t want to upset anyone so you tolerate or learn to live with the situation. Finally, ‘leave’. No one want to live with the guilt of not having tried (Speak Up) but once you’ve tried, its ok to dedicate your time, without guilt, to those people who make you happy! It’s ok, but it’s not easy! If you can relate to this and want to be free of this emotional weight around your neck, get in touch, as I’d be very happy to help you.