Blood is thicker than water, they say.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all family relationships have been a walk in the park. Just like any relationship, family bonds take effort, commitment, and love.
We sometimes have a tendency to treat those we love the worst – and I wonder why that is. Perhaps we think family is forever and we’ll never truly lose each other.
But what if we did lose each other?
Family can get messy and sometimes we fall out of touch with the people that once meant the most to us. Whether there was a specific incident or an ongoing feud, broken family relationships can be very taxing if enabled over time.
Life is short and family should be cherished. If you’ve ever mended an estranged relationship, then you know how rewarding the outcome can be. With a little forgiveness and positive outlook on life, I urge you to begin taking some steps toward bringing your family closer together.
Before reaching out and making an effort to mend any problems, make sure to mentally prepare yourself for what this process may bring. It may not be a piece of cake, and it may take time for both parties to resume to the old days. A lot of time and effort will be dedicated to this period, as it should be.
After preparing yourself, the first thing to do is reach out to the person(s). Acknowledge the problem or issue, and suggest that you meet up in an effort to move forward with the relationship. Depending on the situation, this step make take a few times. Try your best to be patient and persistent.
Meeting up and discussing the reason for estrangement is what comes next. While you may be eager to just move forward and leave the past in the past, addressing the root of the problem is crucial. This step allows you to communicate your feelings, and you’re given the opportunity to listen to the other side with an open mind.
Forgiveness is key. Being able to let go of hurt emotions or bad blood is a difficult task, but also a freeing one. Holding grudges and harboring negative feelings is not only destructive to your relationships, but also to you and your mental health. Come to the meeting ready and willing to forgive the past and focus on the present and future.
If both parties have expressed their forgiveness and want to better the relationship, then keep the optimistic outlook going by finding times to see each other and strengthen the friendship.
Perhaps this means planning isolated times for you and the other person(s) to reconnect, or maybe this is an opportunity for you to include them in your family group plans. Find the route that is best suited for your situation, and go through with it.
One thing to remember is to not put a time limit on the rebuilding process. Wounds take time to heal, and everyone heals in different forms for different periods of time. Focus on the quality of relationship you’re establishing and less on how long it takes to do so.
If you do it right, it will all be worth it.
Have you repaired or are in the middle of repairing an estranged family relationship? We want to hear your story.
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