6 ways you can strengthen your relationship with your extended family (even though you may not want to)
after a less than flattering series of events occurring within my own family, i figured this would be a great time to offer some advice to those who may also be facing (or have faced) friction between select members of their extended family. after all, the enemy shall not have the final say in how our family loves and interacts with one another.
6) remove any and all egos.
i associate egos with a sense of entitlement. egos are trouble. the bigger the egos, the more entitled you feel. the more entitled you feel, the more likely you are to be disrespectful to those who you perceive to not be as entitled as you. disrespect is not ok under any circumstances because no one person is “better” than anyone. humble yourself. remove the ego so people can actually get a word through to you and be receptive to what comes out of your mouth.
most arguments/misconceptions are strengthened through miscommunication and gossip. if you have something to say, the best thing you can do is take it to that family member in a responsible/respectful manner. it’s good practice to avoid talking to others only because other family members can sometimes do more harm than good with fueling your anger or animosity. minimize drama. communicate.
4) be consistent & practice what you preach.
if you are going to strengthen your relationship with your extended family, you’ve got to be consistent. ya can’t be out here commenting on one another’s photos on social media and laughing and joking in each other’s faces when in reality, you cannot stand one another. that’s fake. that’s hypocritical. nobody needs that. if you pride yourself on being “real”, be that. similarly, if you pride yourself on being a Christian, you need to make sure the way you treat your family members (and even those who aren’t in your family), is consistent with the values and beliefs you claim to live by.
3). operate in love & authenticity.
it’s pretty simple. treat one another like you yourself would like to be treated. be open and honest in a respectful manner that is conducive for an actual conversation, not an argument for the family to try and prove who has the loudest bark. while some may argue that you can love from a distance, you also need to recognize that respect is not optional. love, authenticity and respect are critical components to strengthening the relationship and getting a dialogue going.
2). always examine the big picture.
realize that there are always three sides to every story. yours, mine and the ‘fact’. fact of the matter is, your perspective is not the only perspective nor does your perspective give you the right to be disrespectful to anyone, at any time. be objective. understand that all parties involved may feel very strongly about their perspective being the “right” perspective. looking at the bigger picture can help with acknowledging (and understanding) viewpoints that differ from your own.
sometimes, we may feel as though we’ve been wronged, and that we are deserving of an apology. while we may have every right to be upset, we must learn the importance of accepting apologies that we never got. not for the sake of those we feel have wronged us, but for ourselves. without forgiveness (of self and others), there can be no progression.