Now it's time to move on to the family section of The Love Project! This is going to be quite a personal post which is scary for me but as I've said before, I'm trying to be more open and vulnerable and I've been inspired by others sharing. :)
While we often love our families (I understand that not everyone does), they can also be difficult to get along with. Unlike with friends we don't necessarily choose our families. (In spiritual circles there's the theory that we do choose them before we're born but we don't tend to consciously choose them on earth). They are our first relationships so family is very important.
These days there are lots of different types of familes and it's really interesting to see. I'm mixed race (African and English, little bit Scottish!) and despite my parents splitting up when I was little, it was still normal to me to come from an interracial family so I love seeing more mixed families represented on TV and just seeing them round day to day. Gay families are also more "visible" nowadays and I think it's good that there are options for gay couples to have children. Single parent families have been stereotyped over the years and have had stigma attached but I hope that's changing too.
Many of us have difficult and/or estranged relationships with members of our family. For the first 4 years of my life I grew-up with both my parents abroad but when I was 4 my mum left my dad and took me back with her to England, where she's from. She was pregnant with my sister at the time. After that I had sporadic contact with my dad and I recently found out that he died. I think it's a shame I never got to know him again but I've often thought that I've been luckier than some people who have abusive parents.
For years I didn't know hardly anything about my dad's family but a few
years ago he put me in touch with one of my cousins and he's told me
about family history and stuff, which has been good to know. I've traced back the family tree so far on my mum's side but my dad was Cameroonian, so it's harder to do it on his side because Africans didn't keep records like Europeans did. Also they don't necessarily have the same surnames in families. My mum's dad was one of 14 (although the youngest died as a baby) so there are quite a lot of family members on his side!
After I came to England permanently the closest father figure in my life was my grandad. (My mum's dad). He died in 1997 when I was 13 and it deeply affected me. I always think of him at this time of year because his birthday was this month. I'm glad that I had a father figure in my life. Yesterday happened to be Father's Day, so I was thinking of both my dad and my grandad.
I've also had a difficult relationship with a couple of other family members; I've found it hard to relate to them. I felt unsafe at school due to being bullied so I didn't want to feel uneasy around my family too.
A good resource for working through family issues is Michelle Martin Dobbins' Relationship Alchemy e-book. There's a section on family and some exercises to do. You can visit her website here: http://dailyalchemy.com/
Another thing you could do is look at family photos. It might help you feel closer to your family and remember happy times. :)
Now I'm going to share some useful links which explore families and family dynamics in more depth.
Here's a good one from Facets of Joy about family in general: http://facetsofjoy.com/2013/02/28-days-of-love-family/
And another one about mothers: http://facetsofjoy.com/2015/05/energy-work-sending-gratitude-to-your-birth-mother-along-with-compassion-and-forgiveness/
In my last post on friendship I talked about forgiveness. We may also struggle when it comes to forgiving our family members so here is another post you might find helpful: http://elizabethsantos.com.au/2016/05/08/forgiveness/
You can also visit my Healing Mind and Body post for more forgiveness links: http://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/healing-mind-and-body.html
Finally Celestine Chua has a good series about relationships with parents. Check it out here: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/parents/
Hope you find this post and links helpful. :)