How to Become a Family that Supports One Another
RAFT Team, November 10, 2020
“There’s nothing like family.”
This statement carries truth and gives some warm fuzziness. But this statement can also bring a wink and smile, as if the one who states it knows that family is complicated, and things aren’t always as they seem. When you live with family, you see all sides of each person. You see the astoundingly good things, but also the faults and the cracks in the facade that’s presented to the world. Family sees the real person. Instead of dreading family time, especially when thinking of the upcoming holidays, set a goal to become a family that supports one another. This won’t happen overnight, but the following tips will set you well on your way to becoming a family you enjoy being around.
Invest in your own health.
You can’t fill someone else’s cup if your own is empty. It’s much easier to give from the overflow instead of the last drops. Invest in your own health. Drink water. Rest. Exercise. Strive to eat a balanced diet. Pursue a hobby. These things allow you to become balanced emotionally, stronger physically, and sharper mentally. You’ll find yourself with more patience, more joy, and more capable of making better decisions.
Build your own emotional intelligence.
Just as we learn and grow intellectually, we can grow our emotional intelligence (EQ). These skills will help you as you interact with your clients, but also help set the stage at home for more trust and more fulfilling interactions. Below are a few areas in which increased EQ shows itself:
- Active Listening. Lean in and see to understand instead of just waiting for a chance to respond. People with high EQ watch for the non-verbal communication, as these cues enhance understanding and communicate nuance.
- Positivity. If you’re emotionally intelligent, you understand that optimism leads to a better, more productive and more fulfilling day. You make choices that help support your goals. And you refuse to let the moods of others dampen your own.
- Assertiveness. Speaking with timidity or uncertainty are signs of a lower EQ. You can build your emotional intelligence by striving to communicate with clarity and without excuses. These tips can help:
- Instead of “I’m sorry I’m late,” use “Thank you for your patience.”
- Stand up straight when you speak.
- Use I statements such as “I think…” or “I feel…”
- Practice saying no.
- Responsive Rather Than Reactive. A reactive person is prone to emotional outbursts and anger when things don’t go as planned When you’re responsive, you remain in control of your emotions and can keep the bigger picture of resolution front and center.
- Empathy. People with high EQ can relate to others. You understand human nature and feel for those going through situations different from your own.
Learn each family member’s needs. Seek to understand their perspective. Not only will this help you meet their needs more readily, you’ll build trust when you take the time to hear and understand what they’re going through and how they feel.
Make space for laughter in your home. Laughing together builds bonds and reduces stress. Research shows that people who laugh together like each other more! And this shared laughter promotes greater well-being. Watch a silly video. Play charades. Whatever will lead to laughter, make sure you intentionally plan it — and often!
We should give as much as we take. And when we’re stingy with one, the other becomes more difficult. Love lavishly. Hug often. Encourage. Listen with two ears instead of one. If someone apologizes, give forgiveness freely. Start and end each day with positivity. These things build a culture of generosity and set the foundation for deeper relationships and greater trust.
Everyone makes mistakes. When you make one, acknowledge it. These may include:
- Forgetting something
- Doing something you shouldn’t
- Breaking something
- Losing something.
- Uncontrolled emotional outburst
- Reacting rather than responding
- Forcing a solution rather than allowing for choice
Whenever you make a mistake, be quick to admit them. You’ll model humility and establish that mistakes are okay, and it’s good to learn from them. And you’ll also avoid the stress that comes when you try to hide something or cover it up.
Don’t choose your family’s solutions.
When a family member confides in you about a difficulty they’re facing, you may want to solve the problem for them. The solution may seem obvious to you. It’s important to hold back from telling them what to do. Instead, consider asking questions and discuss possible solutions they may try, then give them the freedom to choose the direction they want to go. Forcing your will on someone else can cause resentment. Especially with children, you want to teach good decision-making skills so they can become wise, independent, discerning adults.
Family has the potential to be the best relationships you ever experience. A safe, loving home can set the stage for a lifetime of sharing time and experiences together. Be patient as you build a more supportive home. It takes time, collaboration, cooperation, and lots of generosity.