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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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Published on October 30, 2020

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

  • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
  • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
  • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
  • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

1. Meditations

    One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

    We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

    All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

    Buy Meditations here.

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    2. Letters From a Stoic

      Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

      While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

      Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

      3. Nicomachean Ethics

        Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

        Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

        4. Beyond Good & Evil

          Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

          Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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          Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

          5. Meditations on First Philosophy

            In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

            Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

            6. Ethics

              Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

              Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

              Buy “Ethics” here.

              7. Critique of Pure Reason

                Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                  Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                  In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                  Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                  9. Everything Is F*cked

                    The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                    While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                    Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                    Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                    Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                    10. Reasons and Persons

                      One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                      Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                      Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                      11. The Republic of Plato

                        Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                        Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                        More Books to Open Your Mind

                        Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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