Do you remember that 90’s TV show Married With Children? The one where Al Bundy is a miserable shoe salesman, the mom Peggy is a stay at home mom with riduclous hair and a bon bon addiction, the brother is this weird freak that lives in the basement and the sister is as stupid as they come and always comes home with the random bad boys? It was a middle-class family that was just crazy enough to help you relate with your own family drama. I sincerely believe families were created to make you have a sense of humor about life…well, that or to keep therapists employeed.
The family I came from did both as I grew up with the hardest working man I have ever met to this day. My dad sacrificed so us kids didn’t have to, has a huge heart for animals, and also handles his alcoholism like a boss; a brother who follows suit with our hard working dad but also makes guns from scratch, knits, and occasionally goes to nudest colonies. He is the weirdest person I know and I wouldnt have him any other way. My sister is the baby of the family. She always got her way, and never got in trouble for running away on her tricycle or that time she blamed me for pouring flour all over our brother while he slept. (I was the one who got grounded and I’ve totally gotten over it obviously) Even though she went down a dark road of almost getting expelled for fighting followed by the school of hard knocks in drug addiction, she is still the strongest person I know and one of the smartest street smart people too. My mom is a care-taker, she brings in strays (animals and people) and does her best to care for them and help them on their feet. I grew up always having an open house with my siblings friends living with us whenever they needed a place to lay their head. She has the co-dependant disease coming from a family of alcoholics but it doesn’t stop her from doing her best to serve her family, raise my amazing nephew, and help the ones that need her most.
I had to give you a little background on my family to show you that I understand what a crazy family looks like, I live in it daily. In all honesty though, I don’t think there is a “normal” family out there. Truth is, they are all a little crazy and we are all a little crazy because of them. Your family is one of, if not the most, influencial part of your up-bringing and who you become before you go your own way and mold yourself through other experiences. There is always a little baggage that comes from it though and before you say “I’m just a product of my up-bringing” there are things you can do to change those old bad habits and create a new sense of self because in reality, your past gives you a reason for how you are, but no excuse to stay that way.
1. Boundaries, boundaries…oh, and boundaries! In order to live a healthy life with your family and loved ones you must first know what it means for YOU to live a healthy life. You can only give so much of yourself before you start neglecting your own needs. I suggest writing down what things you need to do for YOU, then you can release the rest of the time for others. This includes quiet time, work life, social life, bathing and eating (seriously), and listening to your own inner voice. There will be times when everyone everywhere will want you to take them to the doctors, go grocery shopping with them, be at a certain dinner party when you already had something planned, or ask you for a weekly time to help them. Before you say yes to anything, review what you already have planned for you, then answer accordingly.
2. Acceptance. You need to realize the things you can change and the things you cannot change. What you will find with this one is there is a whole heck of a lot you CANNOT change. There is good and bad news with that realization. The bad news is there is nothing you can do, NOTHING. The good news is, there is nothing you can do! You’re free! Relax, breath, and don’t worry about it. The quicker you learn to let things go and be as they are the better off you will be. Accept people and circumstances for how they are and move on, brush it off your shoulder. The fun part is what you can change, which is everything about you: your finances, your mindset(the way you see situations), your body, your career choice, your friend choice, and how clean your car is.
3. Daily personal development. This last one follows suit with the second one. Once you realize you are powerless over your family, other people, and most situations that come your way the quicker you can begin working on the things you can change, your inner self. Daily personal development will help you change from where you are into where you want to be. In order to begin: find a place you can be alone for awhile, take all of life’s current circumstances out, and write down what you want for you and your life. From that list you will create a schedule that reflects your new way of life first, then use your free time to take your grandma to the grocery store.
This is a process, and it will take time. Look at your age and realize it took you that long to be who you are today. So accept and respect yourself and your boundaries, re-organize, and begin again. Trust me, I’m still a perfectionist people pleaser that sometimes creates chaos in my own life to feel “normal” and I at times bite off more than I can chew. My que for myself to back up and re-organize my life is when I feel the sudden urge to clean my car because dang it, THAT I can control. But hey…at least I don’t have a bon bon addiction.
Vivo La Dolce Vito,