I don’t live near my family. Ever since I moved to Chicago a few years ago, I only see my family about twice a year. As a result, my time home with them is usually filled with fun and laughter and rarely any arguments or seriousness.
But we are still a family. And as a result there are still problems that exist. Actually, when I think of it that way, there are not really problems. More things that bother me that I don’t speak up about. I am the youngest in a family with 3 children and as a child, I learned how to accommodate. My brothers would say I learned how to get whatever I wanted, but the truth is that youngest children watch the turmoil that happens between older children and their parents and what they end up teaching themselves is how to make people happy. So as a 3rd child, I learned to make people laugh, to not ask for too much, to be happy with whatever was offered to me.
Now my parents definitely provided for me. And to give credit to my brothers (and to all youngest children out there) my parents life situation was different by the time I was a teenager and I can totally see how it appeared at least that I was getting “more”.
But the truth is there are things that I want from my family that I fear asking for. I think I don’t want to rock the boat. I’ve been taught my whole life how to not rock the boat. And, as with most families, there are certain habits and patterns that we have developed, some of which I haven’t been okay with for awhile. I don’t blame my family for these things continuing to happen as I haven’t stepped up and said anything about it.
I’m in town visiting them this week and I decided yesterday morning that when I got here I would speak up finally and stop keeping all of these wants inside. If I want change, in any area of my life, I’m beginning to see that I need to take more steps than I think I sometimes want to take. I’m seeing that I need to decide in certain cases which I want: the change or no work. The change is starting to win out.
And that’s because I’m seeing that the work that I prep myself for when it comes to change is not nearly as strenuous once I’m in it. My family reacted so calmly and chill about the things I wanted that it barely seemed like it happened. Now I will say that I really contemplated how I would approach them and what exactly I would say. I talked through it at length with my husband who knows me best and who helped me determine the most effective way that I could bring these wants to them in a way that they would be open to them.
Essentially, I did not just walk in and say, “Why haven’t you given me this?! I deserve this! How dare you?! I want this now!” Maybe a little therapeutic but not effective.
Going through this year of risk is teaching me more and more how to go after what I want. Change is an active process and if I want to come out of this year changed, I’ve got to take some of these scarier risks. Sure it turned out great. But it could have flopped too.