To the Editor: Suggestions offered for unification of families
Written by Norma Davenport   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 10:22
The holiday season is quickly approaching, and for some people, the Norman Rockwell depiction of a family gathered around the table for dinner only serves as a painful reminder of happier times. If you are dealing with family drama and dysfunction this year, please consider the following suggestions for family unification:
No matter how flat you make a pancake, it always has two sides. Recognize that our perceptions inform us about our personal reality. We do not have to agree with other people's beliefs in order to get along. It is helpful, however, when both sides can agree to be respectful. We are polite to others in our jobs every day with people we hardly know, so why not be courteous with people whom we call family?
Before approaching a family member, do your homework. It is important to examine your motivations first. For example, if you are a "right fighter" and your goal is to prove that the other person is wrong, then this attitude will only alienate and leave your adversary feeling misunderstood. Having empathy for another person's story is a sign of maturity.
Decide whether you want to be "right," or whether you want to be "happy."  Is your goal to defend your position, or do you want to improve your situation?  The clarity that you have about what you really want will shape your attitude. Asking, "What you can do to improve the situation" is much more inviting than attempting to prove another person is wrong.
What is the price of family alienation costing you? Misunderstandings, broken bonds, blaming and false assumptions can cause needless suffering and separation.
Forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself. Anger is a poison that can be lethal to one's physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. People who remain in an angry/fight mode put themselves in bondage with their perceived adversaries. Angry people often view their life through a rear view mirror, and in doing so, they often miss any present opportunities for change.
Decide to take the higher ground, regardless of the negative attitudes that surround you when dealing with difficult people. Reconciliation with toxic people is not always advisable. Remaining healthy should be your first priority. Sometimes, this may require distancing yourself from loved ones until you are feeling stronger. Remember the most important relationship is the one with yourself.
Norma Davenport
Bowling Green

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