I posted this on my personal Facebook page the other day as I was thinking about Thanksgiving this week. I love the humor in it, but there is definitely truth in this statement. I’ve talked to many people who are looking forward to spending time with their loved ones in the coming days and weeks, and the same number of people who will find it quite challenging.
I think the key to unity and peace within a family (within any group of humans, really) is acceptance. Accepting someone even though their actions and decisions may not be the same as yours, or the way you think is right.
As I’ve had more and more life experiences, I’ve learned that you truly cannot predict what your decision or reaction would be in a situation you’ve never been in. And when faced with that situation, you will often be surprised by responding in a way you never imagined.
Learning this over the course of my adult life has changed the way I view others and how I treat them. It feels much better to accept and even appreciate someone’s differences, then it is to be constantly bothered by them doing things differently than me. Not to mention how beautiful relationships can be formed from that.
So my challenge to you while visiting family over the coming weeks:
If you are feeling irritated about someone else and their way of doing life, keep in mind that you are not them; it’s not up to you to be concerned with their actions. You will find peace and put them at ease by offering a little acceptance. Some relationships will be mended and will even blossom once you start building one another up instead of tearing each other down.
If you are the one who feels judged and attacked by certain relatives, learn to accept and own your life choices. Be responsible for the outcomes, whether good or bad and learn from them. And move on. Stop letting the judgement of others consume your energy and dictate your decisions. It is likely they will not treat you differently even when you try to fit into their mold.
Be the one who starts the cycle of acceptance.