By Lorène Belotti, Guest Blogger
Social relationships are hard, but family relationships are the hardest. I’m very family oriented and my tribe means the world to me– too much sometimes. Being so close to my family members makes me more vulnerable but not always in a good way. I am usually more tolerant with my family members and can accept things from them that I would never bear from anyone else. It’s beautiful in a way, but dangerous, too. We need to find balance to stay true to ourselves. Here are some tips that should help:
1. Stay rational
When a family member has a problem and asks for your help, try to stay rational. Listen carefully. We usually are drawn into the emotions, especially if the person is in distress, mad at someone, hurt for any reason. We usually and naturally are very compassionate and often suffer as well. In a conflict, try to understand the point of view of every person involved. It will prevent you from jumping to false conclusions and being hurt in the process of trying to stay loyal.
2.Listen to your gut
Sometimes, a close family member will “force” you to be in touch with people you don’t like. For example, your sister’s boyfriend or simply a friend of hers whom you don’t like. It’s a very difficult situation. How do you support your sister in her relationship without compromising yourself by getting involved in situations with people you don’t feel at ease with? Trust your gut. You have the right not to love everyone. As long as you are respectful and cordial, you have to keep the healthy distance from the people you don’t feel good with, sister’s boyfriend or not. It’s called self-preservation.
3. Speak your mind
As I said, I tolerate more from my loved ones than from others. To help them, I become capable of things I normally wouldn’t even imagine doing. But we have the right to ask questions, to know where we’re getting involved and to measure the pros and cons for OURSELVES. Speak! Don’t stay quiet if you disagree, especially if your family members try to guilt you with sentences such as “if you love me, you have to be my alibi while I’m lying to our parents to get out.”
4. Respect your limits
Your tribe knows you love them. You don’t need to prove anything. Jumping into trouble is not proving your love; it’s quite the opposite. If you don’t feel comfortable in some situations, you have to go away, no matter what. No explanations needed. Everyone has limits, respect your own.
5. Don’t blink
If you’re like me, you’ll often feel torn between what you DO for your loved ones, and what you think you SHOULD do for them. Do not listen to stereotyped, preconceived ideas about what a sister, an aunt, a cousin should be/do. If you don’t feel right supporting your brother in a quarrel with your cousin, don’t do it. Stay in the background. At some point, your family’s problems and burdens are not yours.
It's natural to do whatever you can to help the people you love, but be careful, you could be the one who gets hurt. Never forget what we learn on planes: put your oxygen mask on first, and then take care of the others.
Let's Chat! Have you ever compromised your personal values to stay loyal to a family member? If you had the chance, how would you re-do that situation to stay true to yourself? Tell us here!
Lorene is a French observer and learner of life. She’s been working as a salesperson and a marketing assistant for four years to learn the ropes of the business world. She used to be a sports journalist while doing her Master’s degree and she loves writing and telling stories about great people too much not to go back to her first love soon. She lives in the French Alps, and loves to try to solve the world’s problems while having a great meal with her loved ones. She is passionate about foreign languages, self-development books, American TV shows, and people. Oh, and she’s a total nerd of Academic studies (when she’ll win the lottery, she’ll go to Harvard).