Don’t adjust yourself to fit in; be yourself and allow others to be themselves.
Trying to get along with your family when you don’t fit in is like (pardon the cliché) struggling to fit a round peg into a square hole; it doesn’t work. You can’t force family members to see life through your eyes and you can’t pretend to relate without shrinking, bending or twisting yourself like a balloon animal.
There’s a part of us that yearns to belong; to be a part of the pack, a member of the tribe. We can create our own families and circle of friends, and connect so deeply to our soul and the God of our heart that we never feel alone, but still, we may have the urge to attend family gatherings. Perhaps this stems from loyalty, childhood bonding, or a programmed message that says “blood is thicker than water.” Whatever the case, here are several tips for how to get along with family when you don’t fit in.
Find amusement. Instead of groaning when your mother talks endlessly about trivial items, or being defensive when your brother criticizes your lifestyle, or getting frustrated at family members’ inability to understand your point of view, find amusement in their antics. Sit back and view them as though you are watching a comedy. Perhaps it’s a dark twisted comedy, a bizarre tale, or a scene filled with slapstick humor. Enjoy the entertainment.
Don’t take things personally. Each person creates their own dream (or nightmare) of their life. Whatever they do or say is more about them than you, so don’t take their words or actions personally. Have compassion for their weaknesses and appreciate their strengths. This will support you to find enjoyment in their presence.
Look for common ground. Underneath appearances and perspectives are common needs and values shared between many people. You may seem to be very different from your siblings, but perhaps you share basic values such as honesty, creativity or adventure. Explore the areas that you have in common with family members and initiate conversations in that direction.
Communicate from your heart and soul. Step out of your analyzer and move into your heart and soul as you listen and speak to your family members. Let go of judgments and connect on a deeper level to your parents and siblings. As you look into their eyes, see the spirit within. As you speak, connect with your heart and speak your truth. This will help you to get along with family and feel that you fit in on another level.
Be authentic. Honor your and your family members’ uniqueness. Don’t adjust yourself to fit in; be yourself and allow others to be themselves. Be real and authentic, expressing your views and insights in a non-pressured, non-defensive manner. Touch into the freedom and lightness of your true self and allow that to shine forth at family gatherings.
Do you have any questions, examples or other tips for how to get along with family when you don’t fit in? Please share below.