Home » Articles » Close the drapes, the relatives are coming!

Close the drapes, the relatives are coming!

Okay, that might be a bit over the top, but sometimes we may feel that way when we are going into a family gathering or interaction.  EVERY family has an issue or two!  What separates the enjoyable from the not so enjoyable is our reactions to the interactions.  “Oh but Chris, you have NO IDEA what my family is like”.  While I do not know the specifics of your family, I do know that when people are involved it can potentially get messy!  There are different personalities involved, different views, different filters being used, even a shared event can have different meanings to 2 people who are experiencing the same event!   If that is not a recipe for confusion!!!

I continue to learn about family dynamics and how each member plays a role.  No matter if your family is large or small, if there is more than you……you experience family dynamics.  How you deal with conflict, change, plans, relationships, careers, marriage, birthdays, and holidays is influenced by the experiences you had in your family.  The good news is, even if your experience was not the most positive or nurturing, you can make a change in the way you think about your past and how you apply that to your present/future!  “There is no how it is, only how it is for you.”  Tim Brownson.  When you look back at experiences or patterns, you can pull a learning or teaching out of each experience.  Decide which of those patterns you want to keep, and which you want to change.  We can learn from every interaction.  What you decide to do with that learning is what we’ll talk about here.

At times, we look back, remember the behaviors and we blame others or continue those patterns into our present lives.  Then we curse our parents, siblings, other family members or friends for making us this way.  When in reality YOU have a choice to make, you can stay in the thought/behavior pattern you are in or you can make a choice to learn, change, acquire new skills and even thank those from your past.  Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Research shows that patterns we experience growing up can be patterns we adopt unless we chose to change those patterns.

How did your family handle conflict in the past?  How do you handle it now?  Do you find yourself repeating patterns you don’t like or want to do anymore?  CHANGE!  If you grew up in a home where conflict was handled poorly or not at all, that does not mean you have to deal with conflict in the same way.  Talk to others in your life that you see handle conflict in a healthy way, what are some tips or thoughts they are willing to share?  Does that fit for you?  Check out books that deal with the pattern you want to change.  I highly recommend, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, a life changing book.  Or if you had an abusive upbringing, consider going to counseling.  Heal, accept and learn from those experiences and if desired, CHANGE the pattern!!    If your mom or dad yelled or they were not present, you can thank them for teaching you how you will speak gently to your family and friends, how you will live in the moment each day that you can be present with family/friends.

How was planning done in your past?  Was there a plan in place for say, family vacations?  Or maybe you had micro managed plans for everything.  What do you enjoy?  What works for you?  Can you see a pattern that is not what you want?  Change it!  If you enjoy planning, but the thought of planning something as big as a vacation is overwhelming, start small.  Plan an afternoon adventure, a trip to a museum or train ride to a city close by for a day trip.  Whatever you plan, do it the way you want to plan.  After your outing, debrief with those involved or just by yourself.  What worked?  What would you change?  What would you do again next time?  Then, plan something a little bigger.  You’ll get the pleasure of doing what you’ve planned and you will learn another pattern of planning!

Physical activity – if your family was not physically active or if your family was super active, what do you want your activity level to be?  Healthy is a good beginning point!  Try a class at a gym or Park and Rec department.  Grab your spouse, kids or friends and go for a walk, bike ride, or anything that gets you up and moving.  If running marathon’s or Iron Man competition is not your thing…..don’t do it!   If the thought of running a 5K or training to run a marathon is something that excites you….DO IT!!  Do you have a cause you support?  Check their website to see if there is a run/walk/ride in the near future.  Sign up, train and go for it!  Or sign up to help in other ways that support those physically participating.

Some of us grew up in environments that were encouraging of our uniqueness while others grew up where we were compared to or expected to be like someone else.  It’ time to find the encouragement to be the very best YOU you can be!  You are a unique individual with passions, talents and gifts that are uniquely yours, no matter what you’re your family background is.    What are you doing to use your gifts and talents? What patterns do you want to break or do you want to grow?  Need some guidance for the first/next step?  If you have serious issues that need help in sorting out, go to professional counseling.  If you are desiring to make a change, have a resolve to be the unique individual you are and are motivated to try something new, give life coaching a try.  I would like the opportunity to work with you.  I’d like to celebrate your uniqueness and help guide you to reach your highest potential!  Simply go to the Speak To Me page and complete the form.

Here’s to being all that each of us can be!!  “On the day you were born, the world grew by one life with big purpose and much to be done.” Marianne Richmond, Hooray for You! A Celebration of “You-ness”


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