Familial relationships are the most formative in our lives. At least, it starts off that way. Many family systems are dysfunctional so when it comes to expressing gratitude or appreciation, it can seem hard. Like many, I grew up with television images of a mother making bagged lunches, a father returning home after work asking his children about their day, and two parents having gentle conversations at the dinner table. This utopia, while possible I have learned was not the experience of many. For those who have been raised receiving kisses out the door to school or seeing your parents drink coffee together before work, expressing gratitude for your family system will be easier. So, how do we express gratitude for our family regardless of our upbringing?
I am of the belief there is a choice in most situations. I acknowledge for children, this is less so; however, as we become adults we can choose to heal, create the family we desire, and certainly remove ourselves from toxic relationships. The silver lining of doing so is that lemonade can be made of the lemons we’ve been dealt opening opportunities to break the cycle and foster a future full of promise. In expressing gratitude, one becomes grateful for the lessons housed in their family dynamics. Even a bad example, can be used to make a healthier choice.
Personally, I am grateful for the lessons and joys my family has given me. While raised by a single mother, later in life I have been able to foster healthy relationships with both my parents. We certainly navigated rough waters to get here, yet I am grateful for that as well. Because what was resurrected was authentic, honest relationships. Their example or lack thereof informed how I dated and eventually sort a spouse, desired to have children, and how I showed up in the world generally.
I am ever so grateful for the nuclear family I have created. I am grateful to give my child a Cosby showique (yes, I made it up) example of love and marriage. I get a kick out of him at 6 asking, “When can I get married like you and daddy?” I have been asked that question both at home as well as at the bus stop to school. I am grateful for the relationship I have with our older daughter as well. While I did not birth her, no one could tell. The prefix “step” is not used by either of us. I knew in choosing her father, I was choosing her, and she knew by him choosing me, she also was choosing me. As a parent one of the greatest gifts, we can provide our children is an inheritance. A fruitful inheritance is not merely comprised of money. In summary, to my extended family, I am grateful we learned and grew together. Grateful for forgiveness and the power of healing. Indeed, in ways big and small I am grateful for my family.
Think about everyone who loves you. Take a moment to mentally send love and gratitude back to them.
How can you show gratitude to your family today?
“May Your Hope Be Full” ™
SAVE 10% ON GRATITUDE KITS with code "NEWYOU" now- 1/31