Monday, April 4, 2011

Friends, Family - What's the Difference?

We've all heard the expression 'Friends and Family'.   I used to think that - really, what is the difference? I also wondered about the expression 'You can't pick your family, but you CAN pick your friends'.  Hmmm, that's true, but so obvious.  I could never figure out why it was such a big deal that someone had to make a saying out of it - - - a saying that has stuck!  and used all the time.

But I've learned.  There are hard lessons in life and there are not so hard ones.  I guess that's somewhat negative.  Let me turn that around.  There are lessons in life that we learn quite readily, and then there are lessons that we tend to find ourselves repeating several times just to get it to sink in....  still a bit negative isn't it.  Well, I've learned that you can't pick your family.  That's pretty easy.  I understand now why the phrase came into being.  It's not one that some people may really think about either, if they have a fairly good connection going on within their family unit.  Then there's the friends.  I know I've been in the position where I thought that your friends were who were in your life; that they more or less picked you, and not the other way around.  I've learned that lesson too.  Several lessons have been taken on this course.  I think I've finally passed.  I've graduated to the next level in both "Family of Origin" and "Choosing Real Friends".

Families are made up of many personalities, traits, characteristics, issues.... the list is endless.  Here's a typical scenario: parents have children, children go to school, children become teenagers - providing parents with the 'normal' teenage difficulties, children go to college, parents celebrate, children get married, children have children, parents become grandparents... and all the normal expected ups and downs occur in between, but eventually become resolved in due time.  Then there are the families who hit a brick wall at some point, and issues don't get resolved, communication becomes stunted, and family members end up rejected, shunned, and many times ridiculed - the black sheep - because they choose not to follow the 'sick' maladjusted family dynamic over which they have no control. 

This sadly, is the plight and outcome of the dysfunctional family where members chose not to help themselves, where they could rise above the literal horrors that are occurring before their very eyes.  Instead, they carry on with life as if nothing is wrong, or try to act as if, and tell themselves (and anyone who they can get to believe their stories) that what's wrong is a result of some power beyond their control.  They of course, paint themselves in a picture of 'The Victim'.  Their own lies become their truth; they believe their own stories to the point that they forget what the actual truth really is.  Is this something that we must live with? or Is this a situation that we pull away from, guilt-ridden, heartbroken; feeling dejected and hopeless, as if we ourselves are the reason the family is in such chaos, often times being told so to our very faces?  Or do we stay, hoping that some day someone will be able to see through your eyes and be willing and able to say 'Enough is enough'? In the meantime, the abuse continues.  And there's one more option, stay, and nothing changes, including the pain and misery that you feel, which can leave you open to a greater chance of depression (if you aren't there already), and any number of opportunities to develop your own 'cocktail' of issues and possibly mental health disorders?

Friends, on the other hand, aren't forced on us; ( although if we have a 'friend' that is controlling and manipulative that you haven't been able to shake, this may not feel like it applies!).  The word 'friend' implies 'disposable', whereas the word 'family' implies 'permanence'.  Let's considered another option.  When we think of the words themselves, FAMILY and FRIENDS in a positive context, what do we get? 

Here are some words that I chose from an online thesaurus from the words 'family' and 'friends'.  You see if you can pick out which ones fits into which category.
  • kinship, clan, circle, connection, companion, mate, folks, tranquil, traditional, haven, confident, humanity, village, intimate, honey bunch, side kick, angel, apple of one's eye, light of my life, supporter, protector, white knight, guide, birds of a feather, close friend, homelike, member, friend more divine than all divinities, tower of strength, safety net, sweetie, morale boosters, mentor, darling......                                                         
As you can see, it would be difficult to have to make each word fit under only one category or the other.  Some of the words above that seem as if they are definitely Family, aren't.  Some of the words above that seem as if they are definitely Friends, aren't.

If you are suffering within your circle of friends or family, it's time to step back and think about your own self-preservation.  Life is meant to be enjoyed in whatever way you feel lead to follow.  Look for the positive, enjoyable and empowering relationships that make you feel good.  You will need to learn to de-stress, learn to love yourself and recognize that what you have to offer is good, despite what you've been made to believe.  It can be very empowering to take a leap of faith and make these choices with confidence that there is a net, however far away and invisible it may seem.  It's a most amazing experience.  Sometimes you'll be in awe at how the 'powers that be' work in your life.  Have faith, and it doesn't have to be the old-fashioned steadfast, unfaltering, non-doubting-Thomas type of faith.  We are human beings.  We are rarely steadfast.  We falter.  And I think its safe to say we're all Doubting Thomas's at some time or another in our lives.  Just know, even when you feel doubt, that you will make it through to a better life for you.

In my opinion, there is no or very little difference between family or friends.  Where the difference lies is what we allow into our lives.  As long as we are allowing peace, harmony, unity, love, acceptance, and an energy of co-operation along with a willingness to work out differences, we have all we need.  It really isn't difficult at all.  We make it difficult.  We try to fit round pegs into square holes and as a result make ourselves miserable.  Don't blame someone else for the issues that are yours.  Recognize that no one HAS to be in your life and negativity isn't something we have to or even should accept.  Take the time to consider your place in the life you live.  Where something or someone isn't working for you, open yourself up to see that they are all actually playing an unwanted role in your life.  It may be difficult to accept, but if you're faced with belittling, deceitful behaviour, whether to your face or in your absence, you can feel it and you know it's there.  Everyone deserves much better than this, and you're the one that can give that gift to yourself.  No one else can.

Start today to think about how you feel about the relationships in your life.  Focus on the positive.  Those are the ones to begin to gravitate toward. Even if it's only one person, or even just a book. Just do it.  Life is amazing when you surround yourself with positive, peace-loving people.

I believe you can pick your family...  and please DO carefully pick your friends.  Your happiness, and that of your loved ones depends on it.

May blessings of abundance in all that comes from truth, goodness, and light, find their way to you!

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is your opportunity to provide feedback, comments, and ask questions. Comments will be reviewed and may be posted when determined appropriate to this site.