Family is your first sense of belonging. A daughter. A sister. A mom. A glam-ma. (You read that right. I’m looking at you – glam grandma!) Maybe you hold one of these titles. Perhaps you’re all of these. No matter which part of the family tree you fall on, you matter, and you can make your interactions matter.
Seize the Opportunity to Make Your Family Bonds Stronger
1. Laugh Together. Cry Together.
Heck, laugh so hard you cry together. This level of emotion is so raw that it requires vulnerability. It’s thinking about the times gone by. It’s hearing a joke and having the painstaking realization that it parallels your life. It’s a no-holds-bar type of moment you share with someone that matters. So, give yourself the space to live in the moment, converse, and feel the emotions those conversations generate.
In that vein, take time to communicate. Too often, people bottle up with they are feeling. Afraid of conflict, hurt feelings, embarrassment, or opposition, they leave important things unsaid. This will only create barriers. Sometimes hard conversations bring us closer. So, share your thoughts and feelings with your family. If it’s a delicate topic, consider how you approach it. Take time to listen. Leave space for differences in opinions. And agree to love each other just the same after that tough conversation. Honesty will connect you more than anything.
3. Experience Adventure
An adventure can be big or small. If you have kids, a day outing to a park can feel like an adventure. As we age, an adventure may become more significant – like a ladies’ week at the ski resort taking on the slopes. No matter your definition of adventure, the value is the same. A shared adventure is a skill-building opportunity and a forever memory.
4. Create Traditions
Traditions become the bonding moments we pass on from generation to generation. Maybe you make a special meal every holiday. Perhaps you go to the same resort each summer for vacation. You could play a family game consistently and keep an ongoing scoreboard. Every family has its idea of a tradition. What matters is that you carry it on intentionally.
5. Enjoy a Meal
There’s something unmistakably special about “Sunday Dinner” (or whatever day you choose). When a family gathers around a dinner table, you take intentional time for each other. Put cell phones away. Turn off distractions. Focus on each other. Make good conversation. Savor the moments. This turns the meal into a moment of connection.
6. Share the Burdens
Burdens can be big or small, but shared burdens are always less. Sometimes, just daily chores can begin to bury us – especially this generation of “do it all” women. So, bring many hands together to lighten the work. At times, your family may even undergo a major crisis – these are the burdens we need to be open about. Hold each other up in those moments of need.
7. Get Physical
Research shows that physical activity is a great way to reduce stress. And let’s face it; life can be stressful. So, download some of that stress with the people you love. Go for a walk together. Have a kitchen dance party. Do whatever gets your heart pumping and your endorphins flowing.
8. Be a Cheerleader
One of the best parts about being a family is discovering what makes us unique. Celebrate these differences. If your sister is a fashionista and you’re a tomboy, learn from each other. Maybe she can give your closet an overhaul. And you can get her to trade in the heels for some kicks and a local sporting event.
9. Show Your Appreciation
We all know a “thank you” can go a long way. It means even more coming from those that matter most. When you think about how grateful you are for someone or someone’s actions – say it! Start by sending your mom a text and let her know you’re grateful for the love she gives and the sacrifices she made.
10. Give Affection Freely
Just as important as the words we utter are the actions we display. So, shower your family members with affection. Hugs are scientifically proven to make us feel safe and activate pleasure sensors in the brain. So, share hugs freely!
An Unbreakable Bond
The way you make those around you feel will never be forgotten. Incorporate these approaches into your family interactions and watch the unbreakable family bonds strengthen. For more tips on connecting with those you love, turn to your fellow ladies at the I’m Loving Me Project.