Family means many different things to many different people, but for me family is the village in which you live. Your village is made up of the people from which you where born, the people you have chosen in your life, and the people which have drifted in from elsewhere. Like all families we are not going to get along with all the people in our village and that is ok because it teaches us a great variety of social skills. In our village we experience love, acceptance, and understanding while also learning how to cope with loss, betrayal, and abandonment. Our village continually challenges us to redefine our place within our family as well as forcing us to adapt and explore our own personalities.
In your family you many not always get along with each member and there may be some that you actually despise. I refuse to see this as a total negative in my life. I have come to the understanding that all people are different and the only person that I need to please is myself. Having people in my family for which I do not associate challenges me to not become like the people I don't like. It has taken me many years to understand that by actively hating a person I am giving that person power over me and the best thing I can do is to be honestly in my heart indifferent to them. Those people are not worth my energy. And even though the relationship has been torn I have learned, I have grown, and hopefully I am a better person for the experience.
On the opposite end of our least favorite family members is our favorite. Those people who are selflessly good to us and by their very actions encourage us to be good people. These are the family members we cherish and often go out of our way for. Cultivating and maintaining these relationships are so important to our own healthy psyche. And by loving these people we can rise above our preconceived notions of self and become what we dream.
We tend to set the level of our self esteem by the relationships we have with members of our village. We judge ourselves based on the opinion of others, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Even though our village does help to define us and our place in this world I accept the challenge of setting the level of my self esteem myself. By finding happiness within me I can walk though my village at peace with all of its members. When I do not have to worry about pleasing anyone other than myself it makes saying no so much easier.
To paraphrase the Charge "if you cannot find what you are looking for within yourself you will never find it without". This sums up beautifully the path to happiness I am on. With this understanding I can look at my village, all of the people whom I love, hate, and am indifferent to, and accept them as I accept myself. Life is a journey for which we set out our own trails. We all choose the paths we walk, sometimes without understanding that there was a choice to be made. But if we walk the path for ourselves rather than for others we will find peace, and by finding peace within ourselves we will have it to share with others. This makes our whole village stronger.
Life is an adventure and we all have family we share the adventure with. See your village and accept them but do not loose yourself in the drama. Love those worthy of it and release those who are not so worthy. Be yourself.
To my village: Love and Light and Blessed Be!