We don’t pick our family members, we are born and marry into our clan. Whether we like them or not, they are in our life for life.
We were created to live in community, and our first community is our family. When we get older, life grows and getting along with family, no matter how much we love them, can be difficult.
So, how do we get along when personalities clash, life styles differ and values vary?
I’d like to give you a few ideas to help you better enjoy family gatherings.
1. Choose your attitude. Choose to be polite, kind, and caring. You don’t have to be fake or put on an act, but be wise about which attitude you’ll take with you to your next family gathering. Really nice people are easy to get along with. Be the really nice person.
2. Get others to talk…about themselves. A few years ago, Psychology Today reported a study showing that the one thing people enjoy talking about is themselves. Apparently when someone talks about themselves it activates the same part of their brain that is activated when they eat yummy food. And to top it off, research shows that the person who talks about themselves reports the person who listens in a more positive light.
Try to show a genuine interest in others.
3. Know your dragon. What are you sensitive to? What triggers you or hurts you the most? Depending upon what your dragon is, you might be more sensitive to some things than other things.
When your with your family, are you sensitive to feeling left out of a conversation, or criticized for what you do (or don't do) or your efforts not being appreciated?
If you feel offended and hurt, the way you react will probably trigger your relative’s dragon and the way they react will probably affirm yours. A painful cycle. When you are able to recognize your dragon, you’ll be able to slow yourself down before you attack back or shutdown.
If you are not sure what your dragons are, email us at email@example.com for a detailed description and a list of dragons… and most importantly, what to do with them.
4. Be wise – the goal in a family is to get along. Wise words come from Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Don’t over analyze the irritating, frustrating, and sometimes weird behavior of your extended family. Don’t get deep into a conversation with that family member who is argumentative, easily offended or bugs you. The aim when we get together with family, is to get along.
So as far as it depends on you… get along.
This blog might be a few days too late - 4th of July has come and gone, and so have the family members who may have stopped by for the day, or week.
But, I hope this will help you the next time your family gathers together.
As always, keep us in mind when you would like a marriage intensive, a personal growth intensive, or a 6-week Safe Haven coaching class over the phone.