How To Strengthen Family Ties
There is a saying that you can pick your friends but you cannot pick your family. It is interesting when you think about it. We are born into a group of people who we may or may not enjoy being around but because they are family, we are supposed to “get along.”
How did you see your parents and siblings when you were a child? Were they your heroes who could do no wrong or did you feel like you were always trying to get their attention? Did you have brothers and sisters who pushed you around or who were loving and generous?
Our experiences in our families are quite diverse. Families consist of people with different skills, feelings and experiences. As children grow into adults, they begin to make choices that their parents may not agree with. This can cause friction where there was once harmony.
Alternatively, an adult child who once found it difficult to follow their parents’ rules may now appreciate those boundaries. And children who have grown up with difficulty and depravation find compassion or motivation as adults. There is no set formula and no family fits the mold portrayed in TV shows or movies.
As we mature, our relationship with our parents and siblings can change. We move out of the family home and we are consumed by work, friends, leisure interests and our own family, when we become parents ourselves. In other words, it can be challenging to stay in close touch especially when there are family members with whom we do not particularly get along.
Part of growing up is choosing to take ownership of your experience in life. While you may not choose the members of your family as your closest friends, you can choose to accept them as they are. The fact is you cannot change other people. You can only change how you react and relate to them.
Here are some of the ways you can build stronger ties with your family:
1. Choose when and how you connect with them. If you do not want to meet face-to-face, give them a call via phone or Skype.
2. Choose to connect less frequently but when you do, be completely present with them. This means genuinely engaging in conversation and listening to what they have to say.
3. If you cannot be warm, then simply be courteous.
4. Get to know them as a ‘person’ not just a family member you have to stay in touch with.
5. Refrain from gossiping about them if you have an issue with them.
6. Communicate clearly and assertively. Ask for clarification if something they do is hurtful. It could turn out that they did not realise they had hurt you.
7. Remember that you are human too and there are things you do that may put their teeth on edge.
8. Forgive them of any hurt they caused you. This does not mean you condone their actions; it is just a way of freeing yourself from your ill feelings towards the relationship.
As you get older, you will remember things from your time with your family and see them in a different way. You will have many things to be thankful for. By making the most of your relationship with your family now, you will have no regrets when they are no longer around to enjoy.
Helen Mitas is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Master NLP Practitioner and the author of ‘Mindset Dominance’. As the founder of Hypnofit, she helps thousands of people to become emotionally, mentally and physically fit through her ‘Take Control, Live Strong’ mind re-programming hypnosis programs.
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