The people we are born to or gifted to are not our choice, there is some divine plan in place that puts us where we land. And although there are books written on family and child
rearing and group dynamics, there is no book or one program that will be your life guide to every single scenario with your family when you are in the throws of that which drives you nuts. The irritation we feel, the stress we experience, is a part of our journey that we are invited to endure and thrive in the midst of.
Family, in my humble and loving opinion, is the group from whom we are invited to learn the most. We learn love and anguish all at the same time. We learn to deal and strategize and cope. Sometimes, we learn to avoid. Most of all, we learn. We learn.
Human beings are lovely and wonderful and annoying.
None of us are perfect, at least not on a daily basis. And we need help in being able to feel our effectiveness when we are with family. It takes an inner strength that often exhausts us. I know this from my own family dynamic. Growing up in a loving family with good parents and two siblings, I was the youngest and felt very cherished. However, during my adolescent years, that perception shifted and I felt the pains of longing to be free and independent instead of being the central focus. I rebelled, argued for my position of adulthood, and gave new meaning to the idea of defiance. Awful and also understandable–sort of.
I took a break from family–as if that is ever genuinely possible. During that hiatus, I learned something about the stress that I thought family placed upon me and realized that it is life and me and my overall attitude that causes the stress and came to see clearly that attitude really is everything.
No matter what I did or how I felt, my family was present for me. They loved me. I may not like the ways in which they expressed that love, but it was apparent. My life outside of my family seemed to mirror the experiences I had within my family–and therein lies the mystery of family dynamics and why a psychologist always wants to understand your perspective about your family, they want to understand you. Fact is that we take that dynamic everywhere with us throughout our life. Family is where we learn…..we learn to trust, to like, to love, to hate, to crave, to find comfort. We learn about people from the first group we are in–family.
In my line of work, I spend a lot of time with people and their families. Right now I am in a position of witnessing a family facing the loss of their matriarch. She is a beautiful and highly talented, deeply loving woman. She is in her 90s and no one is ready for her to go. The offspring cherish her and have known her presence forever. The stress for this family and the reality of stress of family overall is present. However…..in the midst of it, they come together and authentically move out the way of their own ego in order to provide a pathway for love and honor and healthful encounters. Each member of this family has a genuine concern for the other and most of all for the Grand Lady.
Not all families will survive the sadness we all come to know. This one will. Energetic and brilliant, busy and distracted, they still find a way to come together and remember that family is where you learn. You learn that you have an inner strength each time that you fight with your brother, every time your mom scolds you and then gives you a hug, each time you feel the kindness of your sister, whenever you remember your dad and how heroic he was. Our inner strength is born in that family dynamic–whatever that dynamic was and is.
Whatever the dynamic of your family, then or now, embrace it. You are reading this because your alive and bright and strong and that means something very important in the world and in relation to your abilities. Your inner strength is everything, tap it, allow yourself to cultivate every bit of it. Love who you are and live strong.
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