We’ve all heard the saying, “there’s always one in the family” right? It usually refers to at least one who is different than the rest. Maybe they do things that you wouldn’t do, say things that are out there or even offensive. Maybe they don’t want to come around. Maybe they’re abrasive or stand offish. Whatever it is, they’re just different than you. This can stir things up and change the family dynamic. It can also create a lot of frustration and pain for you as an individual too. Today I want to share a few things you can do in regards to “that one person”.
I coach a lot of people on family relationships. There’s a lot of feelings around the family, especially if you’re LDS. Like, what are you supposed to do when you read that:
“Family life is the best method for achieving happiness in this world, and it is a clear pattern given to us from the Lord about what is to be in the next world.” —Spencer W. Kimball
Am I doomed if my family isn’t a perfect, all together, loving family? What if we’re not happy now???
or what about this one?
“In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make our families the center of our lives and the top of our priorities.” —L. Tom Perry
What if “they” don’t feel the same way? What if they don’t want to make you their top priority or even a thought? How can I fix this when they don’t want things to be fixed?
Of course family is important. There is a beautiful peace and happiness that can be felt/experienced in the family, different than what you experience anywhere else. We want to have strong bonds and relationships. We want to have the ideal close family and feel love and connection with each other. So how do you do that when there’s that one (or more) person that just doesn’t want what you want?
We have these standards and ideals for the people around us, how they should act, the types of things they should say or ask, when they should show up, how they should show up and how they should treat others when they come, or if they don’t come, how they should handle that too. These standards feel good and right to us so we want to stick by them but when they don’t do them, whoa Nelly…
The first step to being okay, better than okay, around these people is to become aware our thoughts around them. Aware of our shoulds, and all the other things we think they need to be doing. What inner instructions are you hanging on to? Think about this one. What is it that they do that bothers you?
Why does it bother you? What do you think they should be doing? The answers to these are your instructions, my friends. Holding tight to these are not going to serve you. You think they’re good and noble but they’re causing you pain. When you can drop these instructions for them of all the things they should be doing and just let them be who they are in all their imperfections, peace starts to settle in.
The next step is to remember and recognize that THEY are a circumstance. What they do doesn’t mean anything UNTIL you label it good or bad. Truly, this is the case. Think about how different we are culturally as individuals? What’s socially acceptable in one country might be completely out of the question in another, right? It’s all about perception and what we decide is appropriate or not. What if you just decided that what they’re doing is exactly what they’re supposed to be doing?
Now, I know you’re going to want to go to extremes here – we like to do that as humans. If you’re in danger, if what they’re doing breaks a boundary for you. This doesn’t mean you have to roll over and take it. You can hold tight to YOUR standards and what’s appropriate for you. You can make requests of, “Please not do that. If you do, I’ll have to leave.” to protect YOU not to punish them.
But for most of us, it’s going to be things like, they like to argue, maybe they’re flaky, they don’t seem to value family time as much as you do. In those cases, can you decide that how they’re acting is how they’re supposed to act? Maybe this IS their best today. It’s not YOUR best. But today we can accept that this is where they’re at and it doesn’t have to mean they don’t love you. It doesn’t have to mean they don’t like the family and that you’re all doomed. It just means that this is where they’re at today and I can love them anyway.
Arguing against what is happening or what has happened isn’t going to serve you. It’s just going to make you upset, frustrated, angry, offended, and feeling negative. ONLY YOU feel that too. It’s not helpful. Drop those thoughts that they should be anything other than what they are today.
When a baby starts to stand and develop leg muscles we don’t get frustrated and think, “gah! they SHOULD be walking already!” Just let your family member be where they’re at in life right now. They shouldn’t be doing anything but what they are doing and someday maybe they’ll do better. But today, this is their best.
The third step is going to be to work on you. There’s three kinds of businesses Byron Katie says, God’s business, YOUR business, and their business. Stay in YOUR business. It doesn’t matter why they’re acting the way their acting. What matters is how YOU’RE acting. How do you want to show up? What do YOU want to do? How do YOU want to feel? What kind of person do YOU want to be?
My kids like to argue with me on this one. They’re still young and learning so they think that the circumstance is a justifiable reason for them to react to something. “She did it first” kind of mentality. What THEY do is a circumstance. I don’t turn into a mean person because THEY did something. I get to choose who I want to be, what I want to think, how I want to feel, and how I will respond to the circumstances.
Family is important. It’s the best environment for us to grow, to learn to love, to learn to forgive, to learn to accept, hope, and become. There’s a reason why everyone is so different and unique. A woman came up to me after I did a presentation once and wanted to know why some people in her family were different. Why they didn’t have any “drive” to do things in life. She was bothered by her siblings and why they were “lacking something”. I told her that those are her thoughts, just her opinions, her instructions about her siblings. What if they had the exact amount of drive they were supposed to have? What if they didn’t lack anything? What if she just decided that NOTHING was wrong?
All her thoughts of her siblings being lazy, lacking something, showing up as less than their best was causing internal pain for her. How do you think you show up when you think thoughts like these? Are you showing up as your best? Are you allowing yourself to love them fully? No, you’re hanging onto these instructions and they’re getting in the way of you being able to show up as your best, to love at your best.
Happiness and peace are feelings. Love is a feeling. Connection is a feeling. The things you WANT are feelings and have NOTHING to do with them. THEY don’t create those feelings for you. YOU DO. You create happiness for you by the thoughts you keep. You create the feeling of love by how you decide to think about them and the circumstances. This is the best news ever because everything you really want is truly within your grasp and the best part is that THEY don’t have to change a single thing for YOU to feel better now.
Decide ahead of time how you want to feel about them. How you want to show up. Decide that you’re just going to love them no matter what. This is how you’re going to create happiness, connection, peace, and love. This is how you find relief around that “one” in the family (or more). It has nothing to do with “them” and EVERYTHING to do with YOU. If you want to feel better you don’t have to wait a second longer. Start now. Start at the core root of the problem, not them…you.
You can do this. It’s FREEING, my friends.
If you just can’t get there yet I get it. It’s tough. Set up a mini session with me and let me coach you. It’s FREE. You have nothing to lose from this and everything to gain. Try it out today.