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  • Writer's pictureTerry Ruth Eissfeldt

The Family Five

The word Family has many different meanings in our society. There is no "one size fits all" description.

No matter the construct of the family, these five basic needs remain:

  • a safe place

  • where you are loved unconditionally,

  • where all members are supported and encouraged to become all they can be.

  • a place where you are free to be yourself.

  • a place where loving, respecting and honouring one another is the norm.

Sounds too good to be true? Not what you grew up with? Not what you attained with your children? Too hard? Too soft?

I get it. I did not grow up in such an environment. And, surprise, surprise, I struggled to consistently provide this amazing atmosphere for my children.

To be fair my kids tell me growing up they felt
these five principles in our house
Got to love those selective memories!

I know I failed as a parent, and as a spouse, on occasion but who doesn't?

Let's be honest parenting and spousing is hard work and you would have to be perfect to be perfect and there just isn't anyone on earth who is.

Pressure OFF!

But how do you create a safe, loving, supportive, encouraging, free to be you, respectful, honouring household?

I hope you're not looking for all the answers here!

I'll start with this:

How you read and perceive this truth is dependant on your formative years.

Were you truly cherished? Did you feel invisible in the family unit? Were you supported in your passions? Were you celebrated? Were you abandoned? Was there abuse - in any form - toward you or your caregiver? Did you have siblings? Did you know your grandparents? Did you feel heard? Did you experience unconditional love?

I'm barely scratching the surface for all the factors that mix and mash us together into the receptor and giver of love we are. But no matter what our formative years were we can all learn how to give and receive unconditional love.

How I've learned to love myself:

  1. Accepted that God created me to be who I am - unique, loud, a voice that wants to be heard, witty, empathetic, sensitive, fierce, a leader, in need of partners, an encourager, lover of words, a horse girl, thespian, seeker of truth, and living in the body He gave me and from the generation and parents He chose.

  2. Forgiven myself for my failures, weaknesses, bad choices, and living smaller than who God created me to be

  3. Forgiven others. Without this step I can't love myself because I KNOW forgiveness is freedom for ME.

  4. Learned (learning) to give myself GRACE. How this looks: I no longer set unattainable goals. Doing so is a pattern of self-sabatoge that reconfirms I am a failure and not worthy of love. So, I've stopped (mostly) doing this.

  5. Practice self-care. How this looks: having a bath, getting a manicure, taking a nap, reading for pleasure, enjoying a nice glass of wine, walking in nature, planning a weekend away, doing something I enjoy.....the choices are endless. The reason is: in order to love others my best I must first love myself.

True Confession Time

Throughout my children's formative years I rarely did anything for myself.

But when I did I was flooded with guilt and shame for the time and money I spent.

I was also resentful that I had to make it happen. I thought others should have recognized my need. Many times I exhibited anger before and/0r after my 'self-care' time.

Here's the truth:

No one else can love you for you. You have to..

No one else can forgive you for you or forgive others for you. You have to.

No one else can give you grace for you. You have to.

No one else can self-care for you. You have to.

I promise you this: when you start to truly love yourself the love you have to give others will multiply and come from a place where no conditions are attached.

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

How do you build a strong family?
One step at a time.

First step: Love yourself

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