In different levels of degree we have the different faces inside and outside family. In front of the others, e.g. at work, we are so focused on keeping the “good image”, as we do mind how others view us. On the other hand, everyone seems to be put on the label “acting the worst at home” – having the worst temper, being the least responsible or polite, having the minimum tolerance of fault and ill treatment. There was this sharing from a focus group participant, who expressed discontent at his brother being the “selfish prince” and no housework/support done. Yet in public, the brother was described as the kind, helpful and active member, which frustrated the participant as the more he said about the truth of the brother, the more he was labeled as “the jealous liar”.
“There is the safest place we call home.”
We are the “realest” at home. Being real means one be in his/her true, genuine, and actual self, without the imaginary or ideal notion. It is without pretending or lying, as one follows the honest thinking and feeling.
Among all relationships, family is often the closest and the only lifelong circle instinctively linking us physically, emotionally and spiritually. With such level of intimacy, whether in good relationship or not, our family is our last wall of security/defense in which we grow to naturally act and think of. This is probably one big reason for family members’ seemingly easy learning of our both Best and Worst sides. Particularly for those who have long repressed the unpleasantness, the most places they project or even blast out the emotions would be at home.
Genuineness: On a fine line between utilizing and exploiting
“Every cloud has a silver lining”. We can be supported in family upon the foundation of trust and security, and at same time we walk on the thin string above the pool of ignorance and ungratefulness.
When we are used to being the realest at home, our genuineness in behavior/attitudes expands, in both good and bad ways, and it in return molds our family relationships. However, it does not mean we shall exploit such rare gift with the expectation of taking the utmost opportunity of freedom and indulgence. As much as family accepts all our unreasonable/wrong, I find the equally notable destruction of pain and hurt caused, which corrodes the family’s strength of harmony, intimacy and understanding. I recall one time my mother approached me regarding my lack of household involvement. I argued the mothers of most peers took full responsibility without complaint. My mother replied, “So does it mean what they do is right?” Upon the moment of reflection, I realized my unaware selfishness merely based on “peer consent”.
“When the storm is passed, the sun comes again, and yet the place is forever changed…”
The Further Impact: On The individual
I would bring up with a case example the further notion of the impact of “realness”, as exceeding the home zone, to the individuals in self. One client was referred to me due to her academic failing. The client was a mature student and fully reliant on parental financial support. In counseling, the client heavily blamed the overwhelming parenting, and intended to break off from it by dropping out, working part-time to gain independence, before she applied for another private school to study the same subject.
I noted to the client the fact that she abandoned the “long three years she had come so far”, and still after that, the starting over of the same thing, to which she replied “her suffering was too much”, admitting her thought of escaping from the heavy workload. The client neglect the heavy financial burden her parents bear, which caused distress in family, yet the parents almost always gave in to the daughter’s want, and eventually the client left school.
At each moment of the client’s confronting adversity, she habitually sought for the “hiding shelters” – she often abruptly arrived at my office, spilt out her emotions, with the concluding line “What should I do…”, expecting me to give a solution. Such client’s experience corresponds to her overwhelmingly dependency on home, leading to her obscurity to independence and responsibility in her individual life.
To me, the family influences continuously shape our individual selves, affecting how we think, feel and act in relation to the others. In many ways we consciously or unconsciously disclose our natural and hidden being, including certain unaware and unfavorable habits/attitudes – to me, our indulgence at home very much possibly further projects such notion. Yet whether the others can attribute our doing to the family influences, it is us, the sole selves, carry-on leading our own lives. The other inevitable truth is that we are perceived and judged based on our individuals.
Believe in the power of respect and love in family
Shall we stay genuine, and allow our emotions indulgently thrown at the loved ones? Or we hold the emotions within own selves, and focus on maintaining the “good and peaceful” moments?
I say we do both. Rely on our family, trust our family, as it is our only life support and security. Yet underlie the realness of being is respect and love. As much as we want to be real, the power of such freedom is fundamentally built upon not just blood, but more importantly the consistent devotion to the true values of understanding, giving and acceptance, which are also the essential elements of self being.
Be real as well as be cautious. I believe that there is a balance in between.
And that is the real meaning of a trusting and secure family.
#inspirational #sharing #family #real #realness #trust #security