“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” ~ Alex Haley
I recently spent time with my daughter, my son and his wife who is like a daughter to me, and another son. My children are scattered around the country, so this was the first time we’ve been together in many years. We looked different from the last time we were together, but the same eyes were there, the same smiles and mannerisms we remembered, and we recognized family. And the experience stirred new awareness…awareness about what it means to be family.
For some people, family is kind of a boring subject. They say, “Oh, yeah…family. So what? It’s just something you’re born with.” You probably like some of your family, and maybe some you don’t like. But they’re yours. And they have a profound affect on your life journey. You can be nurtured into who you really are or misguided into who you’re not.
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” ~Graham Greene
We start out with genes, DNA, inherited talents and gifts. Then our experiences develop personality traits, habits, values, strengths and weaknesses, etc, until we believe we’ve become the finished product. But we’re constantly unfolding, and it may not always be the way we want to unfold. So it’s important to know and understand yourself and your family very well.
No family is perfect. They’re all products of their families before them, flawed in some way from miner to major. And we reap whatever our own families are able to give us as we’re growing up, both positive and negative. Even in the best families, no child escapes some childhood wounds. Think about what your own family is like. And maybe people who were like family but not blood related. They would also affect your life.
“Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But you can run from it, or learn from it.” ~ Rafiki, The Lion King
Take a good look at yourself, and think about issues you might like to change now. Are there parts of you, or all of you, that sometimes feel lonely, unhappy, inadequate, ugly, not as good as? Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? Anything you wish were different? If so, you had to get these beliefs and feelings from somewhere. You were not born with them. In many cases, family was the source. But those beliefs and feelings can be released and replaced with the truth about you…and the truth about your family.
Most of the time families are loving, kind people, and don’t realize the damage that can be done. They do their best as they know it. But now it’s up to you to look at family issues; look at your own issues; and do what you can to create a better life without old wounds holding you back.
“If you want to grow, you must learn to let go.” ~ Darren L. Johnson
First explore what you want to change in yourself. Be clear, precise, and determined. Then explore your childhood and see if you can identify what words or treatment might have caused whatever issue you want to change in you. You can’t change what people did, but you can rewrite your response, therefore what you believe and feel about yourself now.
Create the childhood scenario in your mind, and then rewrite it in a different positive way, a new script, with your response using denials and affirmations. Example: Suppose as a child you were made to feel that you didn’t belong. In your new scenario, participate with a smile and say, (denial) “I deny that your treatment of me has any power over me…because (affirmation) in truth I was born with a very important place in this world which I now fulfill.” And practice until you truly believe your affirmations, and your pain is gone.
Now about forgiveness. Forgiving whatever or whoever caused childhood wounds is vital to your peace and happiness. Don’t minimize the importance of family. They build us into what we are, and they guide us on our journey. Not all families are safe havens, but they love us in their own way, and they teach us with their mistakes. Laugh with your family, cry with them, love them, and forgive them. And forgive and release what needs to go. You are blessed.
I wish you peace and love with your family.
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer
Author Marilyn Fowler is a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. “However, retirement is not for me, so I stay busy. I continue to write and I am active in my church.”