Family relationships provide a unique anchor to who we’ve been. This is important because who we are and who we may become can only exist because of who we were. Ignoring the past is like trying to navigate through the wilderness without a compass.
The story of our spiritual, mental and physical growth provides us with a self-referential index so we don’t get lost in the journey of life. Family holds us accountable to who we’ve been by virtue of their memories, which they hold up like mirrors to show us our progress through life, or lack of it. A service which we, in turn, provide them.
This accountability factor happens regardless of intention, because we see ourselves reflected in the behavior of family, and we are forced to compare and contrast our current behavior/beliefs from past behavior/beliefs. We observe similarities and differences. We extend grace and intolerance to family in unique ways that separate family from other relationships. As a result, our experience of grief and love is intensified.
Regardless of your relationship with family, they can not be replaced because we did not choose them, and we perpetuate this cycle for our children, who don’t choose us as parents, our siblings as aunts/uncles, or our parents as grandparents. This absence of choice creates deep complexes which we spend our lives attempting to resolve.
Relationships thrive absent of resentment. Resentment is holding others responsible for having intentions we’ve assumed while holding ourselves responsible for allowing their behavior to rob us of something.
We tend to resent ourselves for lessons we’ve yet to integrate. We tend to resent others for their role in co-creating conditions that prepare us for integration (if we have been resisting this necessary process); that point at which we become conscious of our ability to adjust ourselves to unchanging principles.