A lot of times we do things for ourselves. I am the main reason I do this thing or that thing. Human nature is to not really care about what other people want, but to care about what I want. This, over time, will cause friction between you and the people around you.
This is something that I have been reflecting on the past few weeks, especially when it comes to family: the relationships you are stuck with. And I don’t mean that is a negative way, stuck is just a way to emphasize the reality of family relationships. Your parents are your parents. Your siblings are your siblings. Same with Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Unless you die or move to another country, these are the relationships that you will always have. My advice: make these relationships the best relationships possible.
Now, I realize there are some parents that suck. And that sucks. I also realize this is true for every other member of your family and extended family. And that all really sucks. I am also not naive enough to think that 100% of families have zero problems. Families have problems, for sure, some problems are serious others not so serious. Assume that this post is reflecting on the not so serious problems.
Problems caused by pride, by stupidity, by a single family member. Problems that can all be dealt with fairly easily, but if not dealt with can cause years of, what seems like, absolute misery.
Another thing I know is that you can’t control other people. Really the only person you have control over is you. And like I said at the top of the post, you, by the nature of your humanity, only care about you. Here’s what you need to do when it comes to family: don’t care so much about yourself.
If you are a son or daughter: care more about your parents. If you are a sibling, care more about your other siblings. If you are an Aunt or Uncle: care more about your nieces and nephews. If you are a Grandparent: care more about all of your family. If you are a husband or wife: care more about the other person in your marriage (and your in-laws!). If you are a father or mother: care more about your children.
Care more about the other people and less about yourself. This will do two things: 1) the other people will be happier and everyone will just get along much more than usual, and 2) you will be happier.
It’s a weird thing, not caring about yourself. You end up being happier as a result. So do this today. If you have contact with any family members, don’t care so much about yourself, but care about them more and see what happens. I think it will go better than you may think. 🙂
BIG TIME DISCLAIMER: By writing this I am not professing perfection in the area of selflessness when it comes to relationships. Not by a long shot. Doing something like this, I believe, will be a lifelong effort and principle to always be reminded of. By posting this I am simply reflecting on recent experience and how I believe practicing the above is the key to a happy family life.