I spent almost the whole of 2020 in Canada — 14 hours away from my home, Indonesia.
When my father passed away in September 2020, I decided it’s time to go back. I couldn’t stay in Canada “enjoying” my life, while my family suffered greatly from the loss.
Things weren’t the same anymore; I could feel my family has some resentment towards me. My mom barely picked up my call, and my brother seemed to not want to talk to me like he used to. It was hurtful because they were the ones who used to be so excited about my travel stories.
It was a tough time; never in my life have I felt that lonely and empty. I knew I had to fix those relationships and earn that love again from them because they matter to me. They are such huge reasons why I keep doing what I’m doing at the moment. And the last thing I want from them is resentment towards me.
. . .
If you aren’t in a good relationship with your family at the moment, don’t get discouraged. People can change their feelings and perspectives all the time, so as long as you are willing to make it up to them, then over time, you’ll find harmony again in your family.
Here are the three significant steps I took to help me bring back that strong connection with my family:
Understanding Your Family Point of View
Sometimes we get too caught up in our heads and think that our opinions are the right ones. Especially when you’ve been travelling a lot and seeing other places, it can be hard to put yourself back in your family’s perspective.
But it’s important to let it go — at least for once. So you’ll get a clear understanding of what they are going through.
My mom was displeased when I was back. She didn’t say it verbally, but I noticed how she acted differently. She refused to connect with me, and it’s been hard.
I could fight it and make a point to prove myself right, but I decided to let go of all of my egos and put myself in her shoes. It got easier to think of things that I can do for them to make it up.
Soon enough, my relationship with my mom got better, and now we are closer than ever.
Small Things Matter
We all tend to think only the big things matter, but how about the tiny details that we never noticed in the first place?
Nowadays no longer wait for my brother’s birthday to give them a gift surprise; it can be a small thing like in everyday life where he has a bad day.
Having a deeper conversation with them has also gained back their trust and reconnected. I know my brother went through so much by the time my father passed away last year and asked him how it feels in the present time and letting him know that moving forward, I won’t let him through such a situation independently makes him appreciative.
I Started Opening up First
I don’t know you but my family aren’t the type of people who are easily opened up and freely talk about anything. Especially when it comes to their feelings.
Sure, we can do small talk, see how our neighbour is doing, and maybe a little more on the drama from my mother’s family side. But I wouldn’t know how hard it was for my mom to lose her husband for the second time unless I opened up something first about my broken heart experience.
Only then she opened up to me and poured her heart out, it’s been rough, but I’d say she managed it so well on the outside that it didn’t seem like she suffered from the loss.
. . .
Now it’s been more than three months since I went back home and moved closer to my family. I’m glad things got so much better than the first time I saw them. It’s easy to open up again about everything because we trust each other, and they know they can rely on me when the following hard times hit us.
I learned that you don’t have to choose either doing your own thing or helping the family. You can do both. I never intentionally neglected my family, but sometimes, when we are too caught up with our ambition and goals, we tend to forget those close to us.
Family is a big part of our lives, and it’s hard when we don’t get along with them. Unless if they are toxic, you should make a distance for our mental health.
But I always believe that we can fix every problem. Even when it seems complicated, it’s just whether we are willing to work on it or not.
What you’ll do next determines how important your family is for you.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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