Let’s Take a Look at the Rest of the Team!

The First Theory of Relativity, according to Chloe in the movie You Can Choose Your Friends, “states that time moves more slowly when you spend it with relatives . . . And the Second Theory of Relativity is that time spent with your family and time spent in the real world move at different speeds.  So you could leave your family for decades and when you finally come home again, only a few seconds have elapsed and nothing’s changed at all.”Family.  Unless you’ve completely cut yourself from anyone with any kind of blood connection, family is a factor in your life.  They can build you up or bring you down with a word, move you with a look, connect with you in a way that no one else can.   Your self actualization depends in part on how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with your family relationships.  Take this quiz to pinpoint problem areas:

Respond to these statements with True, False, or Sort of.

  1. More often than not, when I try to express something important to my family, I feel like they’ve missed the point.
  2. Holidays in my house aren’t anything at all like the ones I grew up with.
  3. If I experienced a life-changing crisis, my relatives would be the last people I turned to.
  4. My family members tend to keep their problems private from me.
  5. No matter what they say, I always know the motives of my relatives.
  6. My relatives will never change.
  7. The whole idea of families sitting around talking and laughing is a fiction created by television to sell laundry soap.
  8. A family vacation is the shortest route to gray hair, wrinkles, and throbbing temples of dagger-like headaches.
  9. I’m a very busy person, but I can listen to my family just as well while I do other things.
  10. At the end of the day, I sometimes realize that I’ve given a lot of unsolicited advice.
  11. There is one person in my family that just can’t get anything right, and everyone knows it.
  12. People in my family don’t respect me.
  13. Big family get-togethers are a major source of anxiety for me.
  14. My family is more messed up than the average family.
  15. In a conflict with my relatives, I always lose.
  16. In a conflict with my relatives, I always win.
  17. If I have a disagreement with a relative, I insist on discussing it until we’re entirely on the same page.
  18. My family is all about secrets – who knows what about whom and who isn’t supposed to know.
  19. When my family gets together, I’m not sure anyone has a good time.
  20. The roles in my family were assigned long ago (the pretty one, the brainiac, the loser, the rebel), and there’s no changing them now.
  21. I treat my friends better than my family.

You can probably see that the ideal response to most of these statements is “false.”  You might not realize at first that the ideal response to all of them is “false.”  In a conflict with your family, the goal isn’t to attain victory, or even necessarily to have a perfect meeting of the minds.  The goal is to communicate, to deepen our understanding of each other and live in  harmony and mutual support.  In some future posts, we’ll talk about how you can move your family relationships closer to the ideals (the opposite of the statements above).

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation, leadership, and teams. His tools and methods have helped hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of people transform the ways they work and live. To learn more, visit www.rogerkallen.com.


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