1. Take off the labels
Removing expectations from the people in your life is one of the best gifts you can ever give to yourself. That means stripping away the labels from family roles like ‘mum’, ‘dad’, ‘brother’ and ‘sister’. If you want real freedom, the best thing to do is look at your family as people. I know, crazy thought right … but really looking at these people in your life that you happen to call your family – as run of the mill humans will change everything.
Humans who have fears and doubt.
Humans who love and are loved.
Humans who get scared and yet still, deserve kindness.
When you remove the labels from your family you actively remove subconscious rules you have built around their role in your life and therefore your expectations of their existence. In any circle, life is always going to be crazy when you place expectations on people to meet, let alone decades of compounded exotionaly charged ones. You have the power here, remember everyone just wants to be loved for who they are. Unconditionally. Even your crazy uncle.
2. Only you have control over your emotions
When shit is hitting the fan and old cousin Betty has told you the same story for the 27th year in a row just remember you are the only one that gets to control how you feel. As corny as it sounds, like a captain on a ship – the direction you go is your choice and yours alone. Yes, there may be stormy days and unpredictable waves but the reality is you are more than equipped to sail on through to your favourite protected beach.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying at first it will be easy. I’m saying worthwhile trying on. I’m saying its powerful. The skill of being in any situation and remembering you have the power to respond in any way you choose, that’s when freedom happens. Choice. That’s opportunity and that my friend is when family drama can become whatever you want it to be because the meaning of your story is written and produced by you.
You may not get it right every time – but really, who fucking does. You might as well give every situation a shot.
3. Let go.
Its never going to be the perfect family get away you see in those Christmas movies that never seem to stop airing on TV. No, they can’t take back that time when you were 5 and didn’t get you a birthday present nor can you take back the time you decided to flush the fish down the toilet.
But what you can do is let go and move on.
I know it sounds cliche and like all things easier said than done… but it’s a darn good start. Really think about what kind of relationship do you want to have moving on from here. This moment. Right now. Then decide what are you willing to let go of and who will you choose to show up as in order to feel the connection and love that you deserve?
For at the end of the day you can drive a car staring out the back window- you have to move forward.
You don’t wear the same clothes you have had since you were still wetting your pants… so why hold on to the same unhelpful, old thoughts about people you love either? This life is short and family time can be a struggle all the time if you want it to be or it can be radically different.
It’s easy to hold onto what has happened or what ‘she did’ or ‘how its not your fault’ believe me, I’ve had enough practice in that domain….OR you can take responsibility now for the relationship you want moving forward. If not for anyone else but the respect you hold for yourself. As you let those old stories wash away and be replaced with the here and now curated by the best version of yourself.
Someone who sees people for who they are and situations as they are.
Someone who takes ownership of their emotional responses in crazy healthy way and someone who lets go because they have bigger and better visions for the way their time is spent on this earth.
Family drama doesn’t have to be family drama.
Family can just be family.
Image credit: St. Louis Public Radio
In 2016 Heather was named New South Wales, Local Woman of the Year, for her dedication and unwavering commitment to magnifying the human spirit.
Heather has been heavily involved in leading and facilitating youth leadership development programs internationally for the past 5 years. Helping organisations like Scouts Australia and the Anthony Robbins Foundation to develop core content in the space of leadership, team building, emotional intelligence, contribution, bullying, and kindness.
She is a director on the board of of I am a Boat Person; a refugee empowerment charity, an inspirational storyteller and connector in her social enterprise The Kindness Hub, and consultant for leading universities in Australia helping to re-imagine the way universities equip graduates to lead the future. With a smile on her face and the belief that ‘Every stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet’,
Heather is an artist when it comes to connection and the power of play, reminding friends old and new to have faith in kindness. http://heatherlouisemiller.strikingly.com/