Last weekend, Warren and I went to Sacramento to visit my brother, Joe, his wife, Hannah, and their cute kiddos, Campbell and Gray.
We had an amazing time – going to dog parks, jumping on the trampoline, and playing the largest game of Jenga Campbell had ever seen.
My brother is just 18-months older than me and we’re pretty close. I’ve always looked up to him – he’s one of those really charismatic individuals that people are just drawn to.
He’s also really funny. He’s always made me laugh – and he used to joke that even if he just said the word, “blue” I would laugh – and it was true. 💙
As younger siblings often do, I have always craved his approval. Even though I know he loves me, I’ve often struggled to speak my mind or share what I really think or feel with him. I have tended to follow his lead, and agree with whatever he says.
“You think reality TV is uncool??… Oh, yeah, totally… me too… so uncool.” (I actually love reality TV).
So, for all these reasons, it caught me by surprise when his wife, Hannah said these words to me last weekend… She said, “Wow, Rachel, you’ve changed. You don’t seem to care as much about what Joe thinks of you.”
It was true. At one point, Joe was annoyed with me about something I told his kids they could do – paint their nails blue on the new couch 😳. I admit, not my finest moment as an aunt.
A few years ago, this might have crushed me – I would have been really worried that he was mad at me. But this time, I just apologized, told the kids to move to the table, and then carried on. #progress
This made me think about Dr. Murray Bowen’s concept of Going Home Again. Do you remember it from grad school?
Bowen often instructed his clients to “go home again” – meaning to return to their family of origin and observe patterns of behavior. He’d suggest that the client ask themselves if they are still playing the roles they played as a child, or if they had begun to develop new ways of interacting with family members. (You can read more about Going Home Again here).
Author and activist, Glennon Doyle often says that the best way to respond to the comment, “You’ve changed” is to say, “Thanks, I’ve been really working on it.” I hold space for the younger me who constantly sought the approval of others – she’s certainly still in there – but I’m also proud of the progress I’m making to hold my own, speak my mind, and be true to myself.
How about you? Have you noticed progress in the way you interact with your family of origin? This is a subject I could talk about ALL-DAY-EVERYDAY – so if you have anything to share – I’d love to hear it!
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