When I read the original post to my husband, something pretty profound dawned on me:
Recently, I had looked at goals we had written years prior, and how our lives were today compared to that time. I noticed that even though we had significant increases in earning potential, some personal accomplishments and had added a child to our family, our lives were in, pretty much, the exact same spot. We were living in the same type of space, had the same type of meager savings, had the same goals which were to pay off certain debts, and we pretty much had the same debt even though we had written goals to get rid of it. We did get rid of it a few times, but right when we did, something drastic happened and it all came back.
Discussing the concept of “Me” brought us to the realization that we were not working as one body. Cells were trying to do “their own thing” at a huge cost to the rest of the body. We were going in different directions, which caused our family to go nowhere. Sometimes, one person’s goal was in such direct contradiction with the other person’s, that we nullified each other’s efforts. This was also reflected in our relationship which sometimes felt strained. Sometimes, we saw each other in the way of the other’s progress. We sort of had a shared vision for our family, but we didn’t have a shared plan.
Things started to change when we started creating more avenues for us to communicate with each other. We set up a time to catch up everyday and established a date night, so we could start developing a clearer shared vision and road map. We also started figuring out ways in which we could support each other instead of unintentionally working against each other. This accelerated our personal progress and started to turn things around for our family.
In thinking about families I admired, one thing I noticed was that they all had established times in which they come together. For most, this time is nightly family dinners. It gives families a time in each day in which they can come together, communicate and get on the same page with one another. Fights are settled, announcements are made, dreams are shared, values are taught, potential problems are brought to light, solutions are proposed… amongst other things. For extended families I admired, they also had that time together. If they lived close, it was maybe every Sun, if they didn’t it was every couple of months or every year, usually around the holidays. But they always had a time to come together constructively. One famous example will be the Kennedy’s. When I heard Maria Shriver talk about her childhood, there was a sense of togetherness that seemed to center around the dinner table.
We have a problem
A friend had just come back from a family reunion and was talking about a rift in the family. I started thinking about the rift in terms of The extension of “Me”. If we think of a family as one body, then disease can inflict a family the same way it can inflict the body. You can view a rift as a disease or a potential disease. The sooner it is mended, the less the effect is on the rest of the body.
People have their ways of thinking about their families and ideas on how to deal with problems that come up, but I’d like to encourage us to take a step back and evaluate problems maybe a little differently. Let’s make sure we are dealing with the real cause and not just the symptoms.
First of all, we all have to realize that everyone does their best in life. We may not always agree with each other, but essentially everyone tries to live the best life they can. Secondly, if we see that family as we see the body, we can evaluate problems by looking at factors that could cause disease in our bodies and try to apply them to the family:
- Lack of Exercise – If exercising in terms of a family is doing things that bring us closer together, do our families have enough, or do we allow our relationships to lay fallow?
- Our diet – Have we just been eating burgers and no vegetables? Have we allowed bad thoughts and toxic information to be consumed by our family? Is our family being feed something bad, potentially harmful? Did family members just succumb to the effects of the bad diet?
- Our Environment – Is our family in an environment that enables us to grow, or are we living in a harmful space? Are we allowing abuse from others, allowing abuse to happen to other family members? Do we live in bad communities? Are we exposing ourselves to a lot of negativity?
- Trauma – Did our family as a whole or any specific member experience trauma? Did we properly deal with it and are we continuously dealing with it? Are we supporting others in dealing with it?
- Poison – Did someone say something that cause one to have bad feelings towards another? Are we allowing people to talk badly about each other? Did someone from the outside plant a bad seed?
If we do not deal with the real cause and keep treating the symptoms, then the problem may keep reappearing. And, if this rift is left to linger, it can become a full blown disease or even cancerous. At that point it would have to be treated or cut out. And the cost to the rest of the body will be severe, maybe even life threatening.
We should always seek to maintain harmony in all areas of our lives. We should establish avenues in which we come together, feed ourselves a good diets of food and information, be in the best environments we can afford to be in, expose ourselves to as much positivity and as little negativity as we can, properly deal with problems and traumas and protect ourselves from poisons.
Everybody’s family situation is different. My goal was to encourage us to think about things a little differently and maybe we can see things a little clearer.
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