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The Importance of Family In Difficult Times

I know, I know.  Family can be difficult.  It is a very familiar thing to hear others complain about second only to weather & spouses.  People complain that their mother or father just doesn't understand, that their in-laws need to mind their own business & that even their grandparents should keep their thoughts to themselves.  All of those things are probably true for most families.  We could all learn to be more understanding, keep our thoughts to ourselves & mind our own business.  But, if you can step back from the situation for a few minutes and ask yourself whether the things they are doing are really coming from a good heart, & because they care about you, you might just let some of those things go. It's a difficult thing to let go of offense, but it could just save your life in the future.  Here's what I mean.

Your sister is constantly nagging you about how you spend your money, or how you discipline your kids.  She makes comments about doing certain things differently.  She has a “fix-it” mentality when you're looking for someone to vent to or to talk with.  Let it go.  Do you know why?  Heaven forbid you come into a crisis financially in a few years time & need some solid advice & someone to keep you motivated to affect change.  If you've burned your bridges, she'll no longer be there.  She'll probably also be willing to help out with your kids while you focus on what you need to.

How about a parent who is constantly at you about going traveling so much?   If you go through a painful divorce, those things will no longer matter.  They'll have your back in the situation & probably help you in more ways than you can count.

And that brother that has always bothered you because he's had his act together since he was four?  He might be the solid rock that holds the family together when a loved one dies.

  Now, I realize that not every family is a fairy-tale universe.  There are genuinely harmful & hurtful family members & in such cases, you need to set up boundaries.  What I AM saying, however, is not to burn bridges unnecessarily with people who are simply irritating you at the moment.  There is a huge trend right now to cut people out of our lives because they just don't understand or because we do not agree politically or because they are “haters” (which in some cases just means that they've questioned some of the choices we have made in life & it makes us uncomfortable).  Those people with different strengths than we have often annoy us because we wish we were as competent in that particular area.   But, we also need to realize that disagreeing with others does not indicate hate.  In some cases, it means that they care about us enough to enter into difficult topics with us.   They want to help us, even if we're unwilling to accept that help.

Yes, family can be annoying.  They can be infuriating.  They can be pompous.  They can also be selfless.  They can be soft when the world around is hard.  They can hold you up when you're falling down.  They can be there when everyone else has abandoned us.  They've known you since you were little & know that your path has not been an easy one.  So cherish that.  Hang onto that.  Accept that.  And then, be the kind of family that you want them to be to you.  Change & acceptance has to start somewhere, let it be with you.



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