Start talking to the elephant sitting in your living room.
Christmas time is a time that a lot of people reflect on their families (or lack of them).
I now have a belief that ‘family’ best describes people who care, support and love us, and this can at times not be found in our own genetic family but rather amongst peers and friends. There is a lot of social emphasis on ‘family’ this time of year and up until a few years ago I for one was pretty naïve when it came to expectations of family dynamics. I learnt very quickly to assume nothing and that not only do families differ, but even the values within families differ. What one might see one way, another person sees completely opposite. There is often one black sheep who thinks differently from the rest of the flock, which can be problematic if the family tries to make their black sheep conform. Yet, for the emotionally mature family it can be a positive experience when it’s seen as an opportunity to learn rather than a threat to be ‘knocked into shape’. What shapes us and our thoughts are our values. These intrinsic drivers are subjective – hence why relationships and family dramas are so very complicated. Dominant family values surface really quickly when there is discomfort, tragedy or Christmas!..Research and studies show this to be true. Its not as if these differences or ‘truths’ have just appeared, truth is they have always been there but have been laying dormant. Commonly known as ‘the elephant in the room’ which has been quietly sitting there for some time, and it’s presence heightens when there is adversity (or Christmas). My belief is that the elephant need not even be there if people had the courage, or the freedom to have open and honest unjudged communication with each other (easier said than done I know!) however, it is often harder to ignore the raging mammoth than it is to sit down like adults and discuss its presence. For a lot of people openness and honesty means conflict, yet conflict need not be a bad or negative occurance. For emotionally mature adults it can mean learning about anothers world views, which doesnt mean forfeiting our own, it just means listening to other ways of thinking with the hope of gaining a little more understanding of each other. Understanding another doesnt mean bowing down to anothers requirements – that will only increase the problem. What is needed is a common ground and with effort that is always attainable and can be the key to to shrinking the elephant to a more manageable size. Sometimes however a lot of people are confused and are no longer aware of who they are, what their values consist of, what they are wanting or what they want to move towards. This is where my role as a health professional can help people re-remember, or re-discover that which is significantly important to them. What I generally find is that people arn’t as far away from themselves as they might think they are!..I do hope that my coloumns throughout the year have had their place and have bought some value to readers in some small way. Thank you Paul Brooks and Midweek for the opportunity and the privilage to write in your community newspaper. Merry Christmas and a lets look forward to a New Year that will bring new opportunities to grow and evolve. Carla. Www.carlascoachingforhealth.com
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