These are very difficult, uncharted and confusing times.  People want answers; we have always been driven towards knowledge when we start to get frightened.  Fear is a healthy emotion.  It wakes us up and gets us moving.  So, it is all right to use our anxieties to get us going in the direction of taking control of what we can control. But it is not healthy to let our fears run away without our brains.  We need to stay calm; listen to the experts; turn off any blame-machine; and protect yourself and your loved ones.

I think this crisis, although it is forced upon us, is a good time to look inside an examine what is truly important to us.  Many of us would have “family” at the top of that list.  But honestly, how much quality time do you really spend with the people whom you say you really love?  Do your actions and behaviors express what your words say?  Are any of your priorities out of line with your actions?  Take a hard look; be serious; don’t give yourself an easy pass!  This is serious.  You are going to have to spend a lot more time at home together with whatever family configuration you find yourself in.  You will be forced to increase your compassion and resilience. You may lose someone to this virus.  Have you even called grandma or uncle Harry to see what precautions they’re taking?  Are they okay or is that someone else’s responsibility?  If you’re a millennial, have you called either parent, or step-parents to make sure they are OK and following strict guidelines?  Step up. Be the answer!

Now this crisis provides an opportunity for some of us to consider re-connecting, re-establishing or re-defining a past family relationship into a healthier and more productive relationship.  It’s a great time to make a huge difference in your life and theirs.  Family systems – that means individual relationships within the family – are most available, open, and receptive towards changing and improving when there is a crisis.  For example, Uncle Bill was a pariah until he came sober to Margaret’s wedding and everyone embraced him; and John and Mike, grown brothers, hadn’t talked in years until beloved Aunt Sally died and they both attended her funeral service and hugged.

I think this coronavirus will suffice as a sufficient crisis and emotionally disturbing time.  If you are having a relationship or communication problem with a parent or child – going in either direction in the generational line – this is the perfect time to consider making things better.  Reach out.  It might be as simple as making a phone call and saying “hi” to a closed down relative; it might be as easy as saying “I’m sorry” to get the communication re-started; or reaching out to an offended loved one to break the ice or logjam.

Sometimes it takes more than that.  It requires a little help from a relationship consultant to help you figure out what really happened and organize a plan to melt the iceberg that exists between you and a loved, but distant, family member.  Sometimes, it takes time.  You have to go slow and be patient.  But with proper coaching, most people are able to reconnect and move past the upset that caused the initial separation and cut-off in communication.  If you think that you have a family cut-off or a relationship that you want to repair, send me an email and we can talk more at length about it.  This is a good time to at least begin thinking and planning about how to proceed.

If you are wondering “why should I go first?”, the answer is simple.  You are thinking about it now.  People get stuck with thinking “somebody has to be right and someone has to be wrong.  The secret is to let go.  Be the solution.  That’s the kind of person everyone wants to have in their family.

You are the answer.  You can have whatever you want if you have the courage to overcome fear and move in the direction of being more loving.  Let’s keep talking about this article online at www.familyconsultationservices.com/articles

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