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There’s No Perfect Family, but a Happy Family Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect

There’s No Perfect Family, but a Happy Family Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect

Family members offer more support to us than just about anyone else in the world. Odds are, those who raised you are willing to help you in any way they can.

While family dynamics are as unique as the individuals themselves, most families strive to be healthy and functional.[1] Humans desire love and sense of security, and who else can do that better than our families? We all want families we can trust. Being able to count on those closest to us resonates feelings of love and appreciation.

However, achieving a family environment that is happy, healthy, and loving this isn’t always so easy. And arguments and the occasional “head-butting” certainly occur in most families.

Your parents may be helping you through college, for example, but may still argue with you about financial situations such as getting a part time job while attending school.[2] This could stem from many things such as guilt, miscommunication, or simply a bad day.

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The thing is: it’s completely normal to have conflicts.

But what separates happy and unhappy family dynamics are the ways in which conflicts and arguments are handled, as well as the severity of arguments.

Achieving this level of happiness isn’t always easy. In fact, dissecting exactly why a family feels unhappy is quite the endeavor. Think about the following: how constant are conflicts? What about miscommunications and arguments over minor stuff?

The only way to be happy is to comprehend where sources of unhappiness lie.

It’s important to be conscious of these types of unhappy tendencies. This is an important first step.

When unhappy families start to really comprehend and adjust their lifestyles, everyone wins. Family members experiencing difficulties are more apt to reaching out in times of need if they are confident that their relatives will respond with love and compassion. Additionally, most day to day activities are easier and more enjoyable when we feel overall, happy.

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Every family defines happiness differently.

It’s true that happy families are the closest families, but they are not all alike.[3] This is because many family’s definitions of happiness differ. Some family groups require frequent dinners and rituals like game nights, and others are content with regular phone calls and the occasional family reunion.

Consider picking up a book on the subject of happiness! A relevant book, 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It[4] gives a great deal of insight into family happiness.

An article by Time highlights the top 20 secrets from this book:[5]

  • Where you live does matter—the happiness of a community segues into family happiness.
  • Open communication is a must for all families.
  • Tell the family story—knowledge family history radiates happiness and family pride.
  • To communicate values to kids, focus on closeness, not lectures.
  • You’re a role model to kids—always keep that in mind.
  • You must always be open to change.
  • We love those who show love—make sure care and kindness are reciprocated.
  • They need you to be positive, especially when times are tough.
  • History beats apology—don’t be overly apologetic.
  • Try to be fair, not right or correct.
  • The secret to great work/life balance is a feeling of control—take charge of your work schedule if possible.
  • Discussing tough subjects makes everything easier in the long run.
  • Happiness is determined by what you think about most—try your best to focus on the positives and combat the negatives.
  • Family rituals matter—sit down and have dinner together on the regular and plan activities you all enjoy!
  • Kids that pick their activities enjoy school—if they are interested, let them play sports or in band or anything else.
  • Separate your work and family life.
  • Coping with in-laws is worth it.
  • Pets help create more happiness.
  • Kids need more than just mom and dad—all family members are important!
  • Anyone can have a happy family—we are all capable of happiness if we are willing to work for it.

And to reiterate, planning family rituals and activities truly strengthens family bonds and creates a great deal of happiness. To strengthen the family bonding, plan quality time and fun things to do together.[6]

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Happiness can’t always be attained overnight. For some families it may be easy and others must make a conscious effort to change and become happier. The following resources will be very advantageous to your happiness and your family’s merriment.

Seek family counseling to radiate happiness in the family.

For families that are far from happy, the best solution is oftentimes through outsourced efforts of family counseling. It truly helps to have another person who is professionally trained weigh in and offer help and support.

Families around the world all find benefits from family counseling. This is a form of happiness “assistance.” These types of counseling services are fairly easy to access in places like the United States but must continue to progress across the globe. This is why family counseling and social work on a global scale are important.[7] Every family deserves to be as happy as possible, and counselors and social workers are the key!

Communication, communication, communication!

One of the biggest pitfalls to happiness for families is miscommunication. Communication is an absolute must for all types of relationships to thrive, especially families. Family counselors also assist in communication efforts. A post by Wake Forest University elaborates:[8]

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“Without communication, one child’s emotional challenges can grow into a variety of behavioral problems that affect many more people than the individual; without an opportunity to express these feelings, contributing factors might never even be properly identified. Individual therapy often begins with the counselor helping the patient to increase self awareness.”

Counseling helps ensure that the voices of all members of a family are heard. Sometimes it’s harder than it should be to just listen to each other and communicate effectively. Fortunately, family counseling helps!

And take the following bits of advice to heart:[9]

  • To build strong family relationships, listen actively to each other.
  • Use “I” messages rather than “You” messages when talking.
  • Encourage all family members to share their thoughts and feelings.
  • Strong families spend time together.
  • Strong families handle their conflict fairly.
  • Strong families develop trust.

What works best for you and your family? What do you and your family do to maintain and happy and healthy relationship? Share with us!

Reference

More by this author

Robert Parmer

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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