“If you want to understand yourself, get to know your family.”

I grew up in a pretty close knit family, so I never really understood families where there a fathers didn’t talk to their sons for 15 years or sisters that didn’t talk to each other after a fight that noone remember the details of anymore or other such stories.

Then over the past month I had the opportunity to really spend some time with one of my close relatives that I never really had the opportunity to know.  Not a little time here and a little time there, but more time than I spent with pretty much any of my other friends over the same time period, which included a long weekend away, and hours in the car together.  And I got to know him a little, and he transformed from being my relative to a friend, and it grew into a pretty intimate relationship.

However, what was most amazing to me, was how similar we were in so many ways, and the insights that I got from talking to him, provided amazing insights into myself as well, and many of his issues, were mine as well.  And this all makes sense if you consider we come from the same basic family unit and environment just keeps getting passed on from generation to generation.

And this is why family fights often blow up so big.  Because the issues that they bring out, are often mirrored in ourselves, which makes us extremely defensive, or in the case of a family fight, both parties extremely defensive.

However, the takeway for all of us is that if we want to better understand ourselves, we just need to get to know our family at a deeper level.  So don’t wait until their funeral to regret you didn’t follow this advice.  Go have a beer with your cousin, or coffee with an aunt, you’ll thank yourself for it.

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