It seems as if many of us are stuck in the past, so when one person speaks, we're not hearing or listening to what they're saying but instead viewing them through an old lens. Does the younger sister ever become a person in her own right or is she forever trapped by her bullying big brother? When a younger brother speaks, can he be taken seriously or is he still viewed as the baby?
These are just examples, but I feel past events color present interactions in a negative way. After a while it becomes quite tiresome.
So how do we get past this? Here's what I've learned so far:
- Start with yourself - Acknowledge the role you play. Perhaps you are always snarky, or come across as having a chip on your shoulder, or maybe you're a smart aleck. If these accusations are coming your way often enough, don't just brush them off or ignore them. They may be some truth to them - so do the hard work and examine yourself. This may take some time, but it's worth it in the long run to you and your family.
- Let your family know of your struggle - this takes guts and may not be well received by all. But the point of this is that sometimes you may slip up. Also by letting them know, it shows your willingness to address your part in it. This may feel unnatural; you may feel exposed; but in the long run you are growing.
- Forgive and forget - in other words move on. Don't hold a grudge. Forgiving may be easy, but the forgetting may be a struggle. Sometimes you just want to hold on to the pain and hurt - let it go. When you have interactions with your family view the slate as being wiped clean. You may go back down the same path, but this time your responses can be different.
- Watch your tone - Sometimes how things are being said has more weight than what is being said. Be polite - manners maketh man!
- Commit this area to the Lord - He can do a new thing and work a change through you.
What about you? Do you struggle with communicating with those closest to you? Do you have any additional suggestions?