Over the years I have had my share of family ups and downs, we all have. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I still don’t understand how some brains work. Recently a friend of mine was telling me about all the issues she has with her mother-in-law. I sat there grateful that I have never had to deal with that. I am so fortunate to not only have a good relationship with Hubby’s mom, but my first mother-in-law as well. It all boils down to choices, and this is where my issue lies.
Why do people choose to have negative relationships?
Now, what I am going to say is not about any particular person I may know. It is a compilation of many experiences, mine and others. So please don’t think I am talking about you. But then again, if you do think I am, and go away with a positive result, think what you will.
Many years ago, I am talking upwards of 20 or so, my little step-daughter said something so wonderful to me. She said she loved having a step-family. It meant “more people to love.” I couldn’t have agreed more. It had always been my wish to be able to have a bigger family.
As you may know from reading my blog, my father loved to move us around a lot as I grew up. Rarely did I find myself living near any family; the majority living in England. We made our own, and we still do. But then you have the family who you just can’t seem to connect with. That doesn’t mean you have to have a negative relationship. For some reason so many people think you do. Why is it that if you don’t think the same way, you can’t be friends? It has to be one way or the other; no compromise.
I once heard someone say, “this is the way our family has always done it, so I don’t know any other way.” Ok, so learn another way. You don’t have to stay in the same negative rut all your life. I have also heard, “well no one in the family has ever liked them.” Can’t you be the first? Geez, just because someone doesn’t think the same way you do, doesn’t make them your enemy.
I can boil this down to something so simple. When Hubby and I first met he was a heavy coffee drinker, I only drank tea. The only time I ever drank coffee was on Sunday mornings at church. That was the English in me, I just couldn’t drink tea out of a paper cup 😛 I learned about a specialty coffee store in town, and thought to get Hubby a treat. It smelled so good in there! I spent quite a bit of time talking with the owner, learning, tasting, and appreciating a good cup of coffee. I bought some, and brought it home. Hubby really wasn’t too impressed. After all, he was used to drinking the sludge at work (his words). But for me it was an introduction to something new and I appreciated it. Years later I now live in a different town, and haven’t found a similar coffee source. Oh yes, we now have the big brand coffee shops, Starbucks, Boston Stoker et al. But it isn’t the same. Not like then; brewing your own wonderful cup of coffee.
Ok, so where was I going with this? Ahhh, yes. I am English, we drink tea. So? We drink coffee too. But because we are English, tea is what people think of. The youngest’s boyfriend is very English, and here visiting for the summer. He came to tea a few weeks ago, and informed me that he didn’t really care for tea. But yet, he had a cup, and later told me it was the best cup of tea he had ever had. Interesting . . . was it the tea? That I use half and half? Or was it simply the company? I think I will go with the company.
We set the scene, we play out the part, and we can choose to walk away with either a positive experience or a negative one. Too often we let our emotions get the better of us, me included, and will let the negative take over. We need to choose not to. When that person you have never really connected with extends their hand, take it. If only to shake, exchange pleasantries and move on. You will both leave with a smile on your face, and isn’t that how it should be?