“Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about you just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism, and a great deal of candor.” –Tom Hanks
This is both the simplest thing to understand cognitively, yet it’s one of the most difficult things to accept. It’s something we want, yet it’s something we will never have perfectly on this side of heaven. I think this is especially the case when it comes to family. Family shares that irrefutable blood bond that connects us and ties us together in a deep and inexplicable way.
I’ve found myself experiencing two distinct feelings where, all too often: 1) no matter what you do or how you try to communicate, others think the worst of you and you are continually misunderstood, or 2) no matter how hard you try, you’re always struggling to understand someone else.
In friendships and acquaintances, the stress of these constant encounters may dissolve the connection. Not so with family. Yet that’s what makes the relationship so difficult and the effort required all the more necessary and worthwhile.
Family is family, whether we want the ties or not. We do not choose our biological family, just as we do not choose the people who we pass on the street. However, we do choose our attitude, and we have the choice to put the positive effort in to our familial relationships, no matter the end results. I am not perfect at this, neither are you, and I always need to remember to keep striving for what is good.
In one way or another, we’ve all been deeply hurt by someone in our family, someone we have greatly treasured. Even if those mental and emotional wounds heal, those scars will never go away, and it’s good to acknowledge that. The important thing is, no matter how often we’ve been hurt and no matter how futile it seems, we don’t give up. Otherwise, we’ve already lost.
As difficult as it is, strive to keep that open mind and optimism. I’ll be doing the same.