Many of us take our family for granted. After all they have always been there and I guess they always will be! That’s exactly the point. In my last two blogs I have been going on about connection and how vital connection to other humans is to our wellbeing. This raises the obvious question, to whom should we connect?
Who Should We Connect with?
My Mum brought me up with a very clear set of priorities “Charity begins at home”. If we are to give of ourselves then the first place we should start is at home. We need to nourish and build the relationships we have to our nearest and dearest. Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister, Son, Daughter, Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncles, Aunties Nieces, Nephews and Cousins…any or all of them…and don’t forget your friends!
Our family learned the hard way to value each other. 27 years ago, yesterday, my elder sister died of cancer. That was when I learned about finality and loss of connection big time. Debbie and I pretty much competed for all of her tragically shortened life. Who was the tallest eventually grew into who has the best job, who’s doing better than whom and debates over societal issues. I spent so much time competing I forgot to appreciate her and then she was gone.
What did it matter who had what? Or who was right and who was wrong? Debbie was gone from my life and I will never get the opportunity to change the relationship we had (not in this lifetime anyway).
Where is The Broken Connection?
Who is the person or people in your life with whom you need to set things straight? To reconnect with, or even just stop horsing around with for 5 minutes and let them know you actually care about them? The movie Love Actually does a great job of showing all of the different types of relationships we can be in love with. The one I like the best is the relationship between the ageing rock star (played by Bill Nighy) and his overweight long time friend and manager. On Christmas Day Nighy’s character turns up at his managers flat “this is Christmas and at Christmas you should be with the one you love, turns out that’s you”.
Right now I’m not communicating with my 16 year old stepson. Talk about a fraught relationship. That is not to say I am not trying, or that there is anything special about teenage stepsons not communicating, or for that matter teenager boys not communicating. All is normal on that score. It is however hard work, very hard work. Finding the balance between enforcing boundaries and building a working relationship is particularly hard. I will give it my all AND to be honest I’m not sure we will get through and emerge on the other side with said working relationship AND, again, I will give it my all, that is all I can do
Many is the time when I have thought why bother…he’s not listening and even if he is he’s not hearing what I’m saying. It is very tempting to just give up, leave him to his misery, because he is miserable. Let him do what he wants. And that is not an option! We have an obligation to build bridges with all of our family whether doing so is easy or there is an ongoing war of attrition. I tell myself everyday do it for love, love of the concept of family, love for my wife and most of all love for a kid who doesn’t love himself very much right now. AND it is not EASY!
Disconnnection is Painful
The people you are disconnected from are in pain. The truth is the disconnection is causing you pain as well or you wouldn’t recognise it as a disconnection. When people are in pain they often do and or say things they don’t really mean. Be prepared! Be ready to respond with love even if it means walking away again for another period. Leave them with love and an open door back. Then you have done what you need to do, let the universe deal with the rest.
The witnesses of our lives are our family and friends. They literally help us create our lives through shared experience and memories. Nothing is more important than maintaining those relationships. Won’t always happen, my sister is dead, but I fight for each and every relationship I have and they are getting better and better (stepson maybe maybe not) and I am getting stronger at maintaining those relationship by maintaining myself enabling me to give more and when you give more guess what? You get more back! Give it a go and let me know how it works out.
If you would like some pointers on how to repair connections click on the link below and start your journey towards Living Consciously. Find what you can be responsible and start there.