How to Heal Your Broken Family with Love
Why wait until the holidays approach to fix your broken family? It’s during these times that we often reflect on what was, what could be, and quite possibly what we know will never be. I have been in a mode of healing for the past year. Healing from the past and most definitely attempting to repair the damages that have been caused. It’s not easy fixing something that is shattered or broken, but the effort in trying can be more therapeutic and beneficial than a lot of people would think. In this article, I would love to share How to Heal Your Broken Family with Love in the most productive and healthiest of ways. This isn’t for the stubborn and hard-headed, however. You have to look at this with an open heart and open mind. If you truly want to help your family get back on track, you’re going to have to think beyond yourself and your needs. You have to be selfless to save what you love.
Maybe you’re The Leader
It sucks when the people in leadership positions don’t speak up or stand up for what’s right. It’s because we sit and wait for someone else to make the decisions and tell us what we should do, that we often get frustrated with the situation. I remember having this conversation with my husband, noting that every time I’ve ever had a disagreement with someone, I’m always the first one to approach them to squash things or hash things out. It’s frustrating to take the responsibility and to make the first move. It would be nice to have someone be the first to confront me for a change, to apologize, or to even call me out on my mess. Nevertheless, that’s not the case and I always end up making that huge step by myself. My husband looked at me and said plainly, “Maybe you’re the leader.” He was right.
Sometimes we are called into life to do one of a few things. Stand up for ourselves and others, sit and wait for direction from others, or nothing at all. I have always been compelled to do something, say something, and let our feelings and our beliefs be on the table, like playing cards up for all to see. That’s my attitude. Get things done, don’t just sit there. So when trying to fix your family and heal from past hurts and pains, sometimes it will have to be you that makes the first move. Sometimes the universe is calling on you to be the first one to step up to the plate, whether it be to apologize or to make peace. It’s no shame in being the first to do something. I mean, I was the first born, so hey… that is life.
What matters is that you made that difference in impacting something important to you. Stop being hard-headed and stubborn and make a move, once you’ve figured out what that move is. The only regret is in doing nothing, and that’s not your style.
It’s Not Always about You & Your Feelings
Often times when we are in our feelings, upset about something someone did to us or around us, all we can think about is ourselves. We don’t take into consideration the person, who they are and how they act, but how we feel offended and nothing else. We’re upset, which I believe is the time when we are most susceptible to being irrational and acting purely off emotion. We were hurt, so of course hurt people often want to retaliate in some way, because deep down inside we want people to feel how we feel. We are so angry and trapped by that feeling of pain that we want immediate satisfaction or nothing at all. However, life is not about our feelings and nothing else. It’s bigger than our pain when it comes to fixing our families. The hurt and the pain that your loved ones may have caused is something that eventually you can overcome, especially with a spirit of forgiveness. Nevertheless, adding to it and enhancing it with disrespect of your own isn’t going to make anything better in the long run.
You have to be a self-less individual if you truly want to fix things. The concept of family is about being a unit, not a sole survivor. You can’t save yourself and expect everyone to jump to the opportunity to be there support you as well. Sometimes you have to be willing to put your own differences and issues to the side for the sake of the people you love deep down.
For me I realized that I can’t fix the past, it is what it is. No matter how much I went through in my life, there really isn’t anything anyone can do to make up for those years that I felt like I lacked. All I have is now. I have to live in the present and make the best of what my life has to offer right now, and that may include getting over whatever it is that my family may have done. If I wanted to fix my life and my family, I had to learn to not make it about me anymore. Perhaps, I found myself in a place in life where I may not have needed them anymore. However, maybe it was me that my family needed. I had to think about what I provided to them and the support that they could get from me, rather what I could get out of them. That self-less thinking made it that much easier to reconcile, because I put my needs on the back-burner and learned to be there for my family, even if I felt like support wasn’t something I was getting in return.
You Can’t Change Anyone
How important is the concept of family to you? Not your actual family, because all families have their flaws, but the ideal family that you envision in your mind? If that is at all important to you, then anything is worth saving in some way or another.
The issue we face is the idea that we can change people. We believe by having a fit, by going off, by running away, or by fighting that we can force people to be the ideal version of what we think they should be. The truth is, you can’t change someone who isn’t willing to change but we can be supportive to the person that they are. You don’t have to accept pain and disrespect, but you do need to understand you cannot make someone be something that they are not.
Growing up, television programs with black families living substantially happy lives made me believe that I was always missing something in my own. I thought my parents should act one way, my siblings another, and all my relatives should act a certain way towards me and each other. These shows made me believe that something must be wrong with me, because I wasn’t Daddy’s little girl, I wasn’t close with my sisters like we should have been, and the relationship with my mom was like oil and water all the time. Because of these ideas, I often found myself upset at my family because they weren’t anything like the dream I made in my mind.
It wasn’t until I stopped trying to force them into that mold that I learned to accept them for who they are. No one is perfect, not even myself, but it’s accepting people for who they are and loving them regardless that helps heal a family from past pain and hurt. I’m sure that if I was honest with myself, I wasn’t the ideal daughter and sister that they probably envisioned in their lives, but regardless I expected them to love me, care for me, and have my back anyway. If you can look beyond those flaws and imperfection and remember that you are family no matter what, I believe that you can accomplish anything.
One of my biggest pet-peeves and we’ve all have done it at one time or another, is saying that you shouldn’t have to say anything. An argument happens, some drama goes down, and instead of speaking your truth and having a conversation like an adult, you say that you shouldn’t have mention it or bring it up, because the other person should already know. That’s both illogical and childish if you ask me. No one can read your mind and quite frankly they shouldn’t have to. If you aren’t grown up enough to step up and say “this bothered me”, “I’m not happy about XYZ”, then you’re not really trying to fix your family and make things peaceful. By keeping things locked up inside of you, you start to manifest more drama in your mind, and allow the pain to boil up as a secret. You’re causing yourself more pain by not opening up, because you are too afraid of being wrong or not winning the argument. Secrets and lies manifest out of you not speaking your mind and being open about how you feel. You become the untrustworthy person, when in actuality you just had an issue that you didn’t have the courage to speak up about. By keeping the issue within, you turn something small and fixable into a huge family problem that will most likely escalate with more time. Develop the courage to speak up on what’s bothering you and why you’re hurting, as quickly as you can. By fixing small issues immediately, you can avoid a huge family catastrophe down the line.
Put a Meeting on the Books
As corny as it might sound these days, with social media and everyone being so busy running families, businesses, and life; it may be necessary to put a family meeting on the books. My sister and I recently had to schedule a family meeting because of some unspoken things that needed to be discussed amongst everyone. Every time we have a family meeting by the meeting end, I always feel more clarity about the next move I need to make. The family meeting may not always result in a solution for every single person in attendance, but I always get a few more steps closer to understanding the very people that I love and how I should handle certain situations. It brings us together to talk and learn from each other. What we may think in our minds can be confirmed or resolved with just an open and honest dialogue with everyone present.
A family meeting is a great way to put misunderstandings on the table and clear the air. It isn’t something for the weak, who can’t handle confrontation. It’s a tough hour or so, of straight talk and truth that most of us need to hear whether we like it or not. You can always tell who isn’t living in their truth during a family meeting because they often run and retreat, or they cry and mumble under their breath, signs that they aren’t ready to have their reflections revealed to themselves just yet. However, it’s also a place of support and bonding, when you learn that you aren’t alone in how you feel about a certain issue or that someone in your family has your back.
If we can make time for parties, business, and socializing, then having a sit down with your loved ones (outside of the holidays) is absolutely necessary. We can never get too big to come together and make things work with our family for the sake of peace and love.
Overall, I’m thinking beyond my own pain and hurt, and I know that my family is really important to me. It’s bigger than anything I went through and more so about the legacy I want to leave my children. I want them to see me try. I want them to understand that anything that you want in life, isn’t going to come to you. I also want them to see that leaders step up and create the life and existence that they want, they don’t leave it in the hands of anyone (not even those that they love). If that’s a priority to you, having a loving family, then be sure to speak up about your intentions, be willing to solve problems, and never try to change anyone. I learned this through trial and error but is was those same trials and errors that helped me to understand what I was doing wrong. I love my family, imperfect and all, and if they can accept me for being the outspoken and opinionated individual that I am, I can definitely accept them for who they are. It’s that kind of love and acceptance that has made things much better this time around for all of us.
Be honest with yourself. What are you doing to heal your broken family with love and how would you like to improve the relationship you have with your loved ones? I would love to chat with you more about this, so please share your stories in the comments below.