This post is from last year, but I wanted to bring it back because of it's relavence right now. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
I come from a divorced family, got pulled away from my siblings when I was young, lived with a single workaholic mother and now have an international distance between us all. There has been a lot of healing around connection for me in my life, as family is the #1 place we learn how to connect and be intimate. I have been dedicated to boundaries, authentic expression, and connection these past few years on all accounts, but I am very proud of where I am at with my family and how far we have come. So, since I have been able to work through so much with my own family and close relationships, I would love to share 4 steps that will help you through difficult situations that might pop up this week.
Intimacy issues are so common and they can affect everything from our psyche to our schedule. It manifests as addictive behavior, workaholism, isolation, self-destruction or burn out. What I’ve learned is that when we repress or block connection from happening, we need to replace it with something that is more “acceptable” or easier to “deal” with. When we want to block connection, it simply means we don’t feel safe enough to open up. This is when things usually go wrong, we can’t find a common ground or some sort of confrontation happens because we will defend our ego’s honor (think: family drama!).
Blunt face: I don’t care what you think you feel about your family right now or how many bad things they did to you. It’s actually irrelevant. What I care about, dear sister, is how much authentic power you can harness so the world is brighter and more connected. Ponder on this before we go into the steps: the way you hold someone in your mind, the intention you set for them to show up, will allow their higher selves to recognize this energetic space to step into. In other words, it’s not wise to go into situations expecting the worse or deciding that someone will continue their habitual automatic behavior because you will be showing up in defense mode, walls and all! This is a recipe for disaster and disconnection. Why not create a better scenario so you can have an incredibly rewarding experience?
Test these steps out this week as you are around your loved ones. As difficult situations or feelings arise, take yourself through this process. This requires much awareness and presence in order to take yourself through the process. You’ve got this, though!
First, open up your perspective. Anger, resentment or frustration will keep you with blinders on. You’ve got to get to a space of neutral in order for you to choose how you can successfully move forward, which you can only do from a bigger perspective than what you are currently working with. This may require you to leave the room, take some breaths or ask more questions. (BTW, these are all boundaries).
I already know what you’re thinking, “how the hell do I get to a neutral state when they are so dumb!?” Compassion. Energetically, compassion is the emotion that will bring us up out of the negative spiral. It will allow us to be in that neutral state where we can actually choose from our higher self. Compassion is understanding the other person is at where they are at, knowing what they know, perhaps not as much as we do, or have experienced what we have, and they are doing the best they can with their level of consciousness. Neither one of us is better for knowing or experiencing things, we are simply different. Our differences make us prime pickings for healing, love and forgiveness. Forgiving them for their perceived “shortcomings” is also compassion. Remember, we only make up shortcomings based on our expectations.
Don’t you feel a little better now? Being willing to connect to them by accepting who they are will help us gain a better perspective. Only from this space can we have a win-win and healthy relationship free of judgment, blame or resentment.
You might have heard me talk about values before, as they are the basis of my teachings. I believe we are all searching and striving towards what we value most, which directs our behavior. When we are clear on what our values are, we are able to access + articulate our desires so they can be met! How often do we assume the other person knows what we want? They should just know, right?
Many times fights and confrontation happen because something thinks they are not getting what they want or need. Sometimes we make it about the other person (projection) or simply attack them with harsh words and everything spirals out of control and nothing gets accomplished. When we can bring our values into the mix and authentically state what we need which stems from our values, we give the other person an opportunity to meet them or share a resource for how to get them met.
As a random example, Aunt Sally may not know about your big need for adventure which might mean she could make a snarky comment when you suggest flag football for the family to play. You get offended and then either fight back and get defensive or close your mouth and feel defeated. You see how it’s a lose-lose? If you spoke up and simply shared how you need to connect with family, in an energetic and adventurous way, you either might get to play flag football or she might have another exciting suggestion. The thing to remember is that no matter what, we all care about each other as people, so hearing real needs and desires stated in a place of ownership (“i” statements), we will usually go to bat for them, too.
3. Be the change
Nothing changes without action, so if you are hoping to change a situation, you must speak up and put your best foot forward. Repressing your feelings, needs or ideas and avoiding confrontation will keep us stuck and resentful. The only way others are going to understand us is when we express ourselves. The only way others are going to want to help us or work with us, is when we respect and honor them. I’m talking about a conscious give and take that requires immense presence to do. Caring about the other as much as we care about our needs will help us work through difficult confrontation, but it must happen! This is where our character shows up best. Challenges that require us to show up differently are opportunities for our greatness to actually emerge.
Do you want more peace in the home? Be peaceful in your actions and with your words. Want to feel more understood by your family? Ask them about their life and their values. Be curious. Want to have more fun at the annual boring feast? Start a dance party at the table. You get the idea!
So, who do you want to be? What is the change you are hoping to happen? What needs to be said? What action can you take to show your commitment to the change? Take a breath, know you are safe and step up to the plate, my dear.
Whatever happens now, just let it go and accept it. There is a fine line between inspiring others through your actions/words and being pushy. The bridge there is discernment. Often, we go to a place of judgment if something doesn’t go our way. “Oh, well I tried that and it didn’t work, so I must be doing something wrong" or "I’ll never get what I want.” Sound familiar? Sometimes we need to plant the seed. Change doesn’t always happen instantly, but I guarantee that you will feel 10000% better if you take the previous steps even if you end up not getting what you want in this particular situation because of how you showed up for yourself.
Nothing ever ‘doesn’t go right’, it is all orchestrated for your higher learning and development. If you did all the previous steps and were disappointed with the results, release your expectation and celebrate what you had to do and who you had to become in order to show up that way. You are more confident, authentic and knowledgeable because of it. Whoever you interacted with knows you more now, so they can have the space they need to let who you are sink in. Maybe next time or later in the day, they will react differently. Sometimes people need a lot of space to process change.
I am more on the impatient side, so I get how annoying and time-consuming something might seem. ‘Seem’ is the key word here, because you AND them have learned something in the process. There is progress no matter what and there is always more than one way to achieve something.
I am celebrating the strides I’ve taken with my own family. My mother and I shared our intentions for our time together last Thanksgiving and it was such a blessing. I know that all the drama I had to go through and the times that seemed like nothing was changing were all building on each other to bring us here, after many years of frustration and perceived struggle. I always felt like they never understood me or cared about my differences. I went to victim town a lot. I drank a lot to get the balls to even be around them sometimes. I reflected back every time and learned what worked and what didn’t. I had to keep re-committing to myself with every trial and error. I didn’t give up on myself or on them. Never in a million years would I guess that my relationship with my family would be like it is now, if you were to ask me that 10 years ago.
I hope this is inspiring to you, love. Anything is possible when we honor ourselves.