Family Hacks - How to build a happy strong adult family
Every family is different. In fact I think we all perhaps believe that our own family is the oddest or most unique. We are led to believe everyone else's looks like they do on the TV adverts when they are smiling at each other from over the top of a cereal box!
Understanding I can only speak from my perspective, I enlisted the help of my Facebook page ‘likers’ who have helped me to come up with these ‘Family Hacks’. Please go to www.facebook.com/beckywalshstandupintuitive if you would like to see the comments to the question:
What are your top three tips of advice for a creating a happy blood family now you're a grown up? I'm thinking of your adult siblings and ageing parents.
Thank you to them for the inspiration behind this blog!
From those replies and my own ideas I have come up with this ‘Family Hack’ family building guide.
1 – Nothing anyone says is actually about you.
I used to really care what my family thought of me; I would compromise, and not be authentic to win approval. That was until one day I said to a client, ‘it’s not about you, it’s never about you’. The penny dropped for me too, that people only ever form an opinion about you from their perspective. It’s more about them, than it can be about you. That’s even for the compliments! The chances are you’re the best thing your mum and dad ever created, so what if they think they could have done better... it’s still not about you!
2 –Don’t judge a man like he’s a woman or a woman like she’s a man.
One question I always get asked by female clients, ‘what’s he thinking?’Right from birth men have testosterone in their brain which makes them think differently from women. So don’t expect your dad to fully understand your emotions as a woman, or a woman to understand a man’s compartmentalised thinking. Just accept, we are a bit different.
3 – Stay curious and listen, even to the boring stuff you don’t have time for.
When you travel you’re curious about everything; you meet interesting people and find yourself having the most amazing adventures. Then you come home and it’s all dull. The one thing that changed isn’t life, it’s you. Stay curious about the people you know and the life you have and it stays an adventure. People do change but we often switch off from it. We need to stay present, make time and give full attention.
4 – With age you become your parent’s, parent.
Often clients wish they had a better relationship with their parents, especially women and their mums. Even as adults they give the power away to fix the relationship with their parents. The best thing I ever did was take back that power, I became a parent to my mum and loved her in the way I needed her to love me. It transformed our relationship and made us very close.
5 – Being authentic, but learn that not everything needs to be said.
Every time I am not true to myself when trying to make someone else happy, it goes wrong. My hardest life lesson was to learn to be the real me, warts and all. But it doesn’t mean I have to point out everyone else's warts just because I can see them. Even when someone is pointing out things wrong with you, don’t get pulled into ‘tit for tat’ game playing. It’s very easy to revert back to being a child around people you grew up with.
6 – You can’t cherry pick self-love.
Self-love is about self-acceptance. Rather than thinking there are bits of me ‘I need to work on’ focus on what you love about yourself. Develop your strengths and somehow that heals your weaknesses. Stay loving yourself in the company of those you love and try not to put their needs above yours. It might seem like a nice thing to do, but sometimes help is the sunny side of control. We are great at feeling hurt if we don’t get that thanks and it’s taken for granted because well... we are family!
7 – How you do one thing is how you do everything.
Someone who is mean to animals, the waitress or cruel in any way, will one day treat you like that, even if they are being nice to you now. How you do one thing is how you do everything. You can get the measure of a person very quickly when you know how to look with intuition. So when your sibling brings home a new love, you can be mindful on their behalf by spotting the small stuff they are too blinded by love to see. It doesn’t mean you can tell them, but you can be aware of who you let into your family. In the same breath you can judge a new partner’s family in the same way. These are the people who will child sit your children at weekends!
8 – You can’t have everything and it doesn’t matter
People are unhappy because they want something they don’t have. They think their happiness relies on getting what they want. We always want more attention from our family, but accept what they can give you. You will always want something different from what you have, it’s part of the human condition, enjoy what you have with gratitude, reach for what you want but know happiness only exists in this moment right now.
9 - Don’t break promises.
Stay true to your word and let your family know your word is your bond. A weekend visit to your mum and dad might be nothing to you, but cancel it and it can be devastating to people who have looked forward to seeing you.
10 - Don’t sweat the small stuff.
It’s so easy to get triggered by your family. Just remember you do have a choice about what you can laugh off and what you get upset about. You don’t get to keep your family forever and the more you can laugh off and forgive the better.
If you want to see more of my ‘Life Hacks’ take a look at the films here: http://beckywalsh.com/insights or check out my TV show ‘Becky’s Life Hacks’ on ‘Made in Bristol’ channel. These will also be available on YouTube soon.