Ann Davis is an avid Hubspot-certified Content Marketer in the technology, health and wellness, and home and lifestyle niches.
The world is full of stressful conditions, and the current pandemic hasn’t made the situation any better. Both children and adults are hurting mentally and emotionally in one way or another, not to mention physically.
There is a common desire in the general population for the world to heal, but healing doesn't exist in a vacuum. The adage 'the way to heal the world is to start with your own family' probably holds more water now than it ever did before.
Although healing is a personal journey, it helps to have a support system to help improve the outcomes. There’s no better source of support than from within your own family. Whether dealing with broken relationships, addiction, financial constraints, or past wounds, a family can take steps towards healing together. Rather than allowing the situation to worsen, here’s how to repair the damage and come out stronger as a family.
Cultivate a Culture Open Communication
Creating an atmosphere where all members can openly voice their internal struggles is the first step towards healing. Encourage your family to have weekly or biweekly meetings where everyone gets to talk.
This way, everyone stays abreast of current issues within the family and at an individual level. Children should especially be encouraged to speak out without fear of being rebuked or judged.
If your family is dispersed in different locations, frequent physical meetings may not be possible or practical. Thanks to technology though, you can arrange to talk on phone or video chat.
As a tip, avoid using family times as the time to resolve conflict. People have different expectations for the magic of the holidays. If the holiday turns sour as a result of a family meeting gone sour, family members can start resenting holidays. They’ll associate them with fighting and stress. Let the holidays be for creating special family moments where everyone is happy to be with family.
Establish Ground Rules
Some conflicts within families are deeply personal, and they can quickly heat up discussions. When emotions are left to spiral out of control, they can quickly derail the conversation. Strive to keep things calm and under control by establishing a code of conduct. This entails
- Restricting destructive behaviors like name-calling, interrupting, or bringing up previously resolved quarrels
- Regulating the discussion
- Avoiding interference from third parties
However, if there are deeply-rooted issues, it’s advisable to seek the intervention of a professional. They can help regulate the discussion while mediating between the aggrieved parties.
Let Love Abound
It’s easy to assume that every family member can feel the love that flows within the home. The truth is that this isn’t necessarily always the case. People easily feel neglected when love is not openly articulated, and the most affected are the children.
When addressing old or current wounds during an argument, ensure you do so with open affirmations of love and affection. A tip to doing this is to bring up positive memories you share as a family throughout the discussion. It is amazing how affirmations of care, love, and concern can quickly melt the hardest of hearts.
Don’t Just Talk; Listen
It’s difficult to make any progress when trying to heal family wounds if everyone listens just to respond. Responding without listening can create deeper wounds and a wedge between family members.
Rather, let every person learn the art of listening to other people’s feelings with empathy and an open mind. Active listening requires that you seek clarification for key points to ensure you understand. It also entails giving small feedback gestures like nodding and light touches to make the other person feel appreciated.
Agree to Move on Together
The most important part of the healing journey is making a mutual resolve to move on together as a team. This agreement shifts from the emphasis of old and current wounds to acknowledging the need for internal and external harmony. It would help to write a list of behaviours to follow or words to use in the future.
Remember that people are not perfect, and it can take a lot of hard work to change deep-seated behaviors. This said; make it a habit to let go of people’s little mistakes.
Hurting people hurt others, but the good thing is that emotional, mental, and physical wounds can be healed. Cultivate a habit of healing family wounds by walking the journey towards wholeness with your family. You can find several online resources to help and guide you on this journey.