Creating family life around a deeper meaning
Most families in our western society today are formed based on an initially romanticized idea of security, cohesion and common ground. Humans are herd animals. We want to belong, to be part of a community, to network with one another and, according to our instinct, to multiply. With the social development of couple formation based on love and simultaneous individualization, a lot of expectations and ideas about the service of mutual spiritual support have found their way into the planning of family formation.
Unfortunately, an atmosphere of disappointed expectations sets in too quickly in everyday life. We change, the situation changes, people do not remain the same as they were at the beginning of family formation. We meet new people every day and what the other person might have given me at the beginning takes on different characteristics.
With this dynamic comes conflicts that can potentially lead to rifts if... yes, if there isn't something much deeper behind all of this.
We already suspect it – a healthy family cell forms the basis for a healthy society. If the individual is healthy, he or she brings health to the family, which in turn brings health to the larger whole. Small and large wars arise from disappointed expectations, spurned needs, unfulfilled longings. A lack of deep empathy, honest and authentic reflection on the “why” when it comes to the question of one’s own actions can cause a lot of suffering, even in the highest political circles, especially if we do not have common values that unite us and we have raised our emotional protective shield.
So it's our job to find out what sustains us. Why does a couple, a friendship, a family, a clique, a village, any kind of community form?
We need deep roots in order to be able to weather the superficial waves powerfully and loyally together.
The best nutrients for lasting bonding lie hidden deep beneath the surface. When we follow a common, unifying goal, we go through conflicts and difficulties in a completely different way. We look at the goal, unite and support each other. It becomes easier to stop taking conflicts personally and instead see them as a shared challenge.
To get to this “we” requires two essential foundations:
Only with it can a family/community delve deeper into what is really and authentically there. If we do not meet each other truthfully, but remain largely unconscious of our behavioral patterns, we can only meet each other on the surface.
So am I ready to reveal first to myself and then to others what I really believe, what is going on inside me and what I want? How deeply am I willing to allow and admit my own weakness, shame, fear and other uncomfortable feelings? How authentic do I show myself in the relationship and also as a parent? Am I showing my children the real me? Do I believe that this is possible, that I am a good mother/father if I show what I really am?
Yes, trust is easy to lose and even harder to regain. But it is the greatest treasure within family ties. Confidence that others mean well for me, that I can show myself and that I also have something to give to my loved ones fuels the desire for truth. The two are like twins, walking hand in hand. Trust means the willingness to commit, to get involved, to surrender, to close the back doors. True trust creates the individual feeling of belonging in intimate relationships, which makes the bond so distinctive. Trust is a decision – this is where I want to be. I can be here. This is my home.
About values and goals – the questions of meaning
Now the basis for real meaning has been created. From here, the family can ask the questions that will lead them to a shared, deeper meaning and goal.
The deepest question of meaning does not only have to be asked by spiritually inclined people. At all times in all cultures people have asked themselves the question of why. Even in the individual, this question is loud, often unconsciously: Why am I acting? Why do I decide? What am I for? A deep, conscious why is the drive for resilience in challenges and holds the community together. These are some inspirational approaches to the question:
What values unite us as a family – what do we stand for, ethically, morally, in communication, in inner convictions? What values do we want to convey to our children?
If we base our everyday lives on our shared values, we will talk to each other and approach problems completely differently. We will always include our values as the basis for our decisions instead of acting purely on the pleasure principle.
What attitude do we want to cultivate in conflict? Do we have mutually discussed rules for dealing with each other?
How we speak to each other as a family is based on our desire to view each other favorably and always expect the best from each other. If we approach the encounter with an attitude of self-protection, communication will also be different. What is important is that we really want to understand the other deeply.
- What has life brought us together for? Why us? Why this child? What gift do we as parents have for our child and vice versa? What is our deeper calling, how do we integrate ourselves into the larger whole?
- What is our focus – what divides us or what unites us?
Family, no matter the constellation, is the core gift of our being. Their meaning, their depth makes us more human.
If you would like to find out more about the topics of family, pregnancy, mindfulness, nutrition or sustainability, take a look here .
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