When it comes to biology, the first place you look for relatives is within your immediate family circle. A big problem comes with this. It can be quite restrictive and the reason for it is downright alarming.
Your family members typically select the kinfolks you’ll interact with and/or create a relationship, especially during your childhood.
If Momma doesn’t talk to her sister, you probably didn’t either.
When Grandma and her brother fell out, you saw Uncle Jimmy less and less.
It ain’t right, but these family decisions impact many and do so for years. As adults, your family circle becomes limited because you haven’t seen Uncle Jimmy or your mother’s sister in over 25 years! Their children, grandchildren, celebrations, and experiences are unknown to you. Likewise, you’re a blood-related stranger to them also.
In your childhood, you can’t do much about the choices adults make. As a grown up, what can you do expand your family territory?
QUIT ALLOWING FAMILY TO
DEFINE FAMILY FOR YOU!
You’ve heard, “You can’t pick your family!” Agreed! You’re born into your family of origin, but you can hand-pick your emotional family.
Tip #1: Family doesn’t have to be blood or biological. You select the good folks you want to be in your circle that are healthy, supportive, loving and “show up” for you.
Tip #2: Set limits on the input you allow relatives to give you about your family interactions. When your brother says you shouldn’t talk to your oldest brother because he isn’t, it may be ok to give your brother the side eye. A broken tie doesn’t break your connection. Now, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge sensitivities and exceptions to this. For example, when domestic violence, abuse, inappropriate sexual activity or illegal conduct occurs, boundaries may be needed.
But for issues outside of this, it may be good for you to accept the dinner invitation at your older brother’s house. Repeatedly limiting the selection of available family members for you to love and to interact with continues the cycle of family dysfunction.
Tip #3: Take responsibility for the bonds you create versus deciding to be loyal to one side of the family due to a generational/family dispute that has nothing to do with you. You deserve to have deep loving connections. When you give consent for another person to dictate with whom those love networks will be with, you restrict your capacity to give and to receive love.
Recently, Naa’ila met one of her 2 sisters she’d never met. The three sisters had heard of one another, but by no means been presented with the option of interacting as family.
As children, the adults around them decided dissolved marriages was reason enough not to make a connection. We’re gonna take it a step further. Sometimes, grown folks don’t know how to be the intermediary under such conditions. Imagine that!
No one teaches adults how to orientate a formerly ignored child into the existing family unit. Ain’t no classes on this one!
However, we’ve done it, if you need a guide, we got you... but a formal course doesn’t exist.
Rather than be in awe of the alliances and love waited to be created, go make a family connection! You can renew old ones too! Let us know what happens!