Dear Jennifer: After many years of trying to bring my family together, I have decided that I am finished. To be honest, I can no longer bear the emotional pain of the rejection, criticism, and anger of the people who I have tried so hard to love, support and respect. Now that I have disconnected from them, I am not sure what to do next. Where do I focus my energy and how do I know what is the right thing to do?
Jennifer’s Answer: Congratulations, although it appears that you aren’t feeling too good about this decision and wish that you could have had a different outcome with your family. How much of your time and energy have you spent, in the course of your life, trying to make them happy, feel good about themselves, show them how much you loved them and hope they would love you back? Rest assured, they do love you, but not in a manner that serves or fulfills you. And what happens next is, finally, up to you. You are now in control of all of your energy and it probably feels a little strange. What you intend and want to happen in your life is what happens next. The ‘right’ thing is whatever brings you joy.
You may feel your family doesn’t love you and that isn’t true. They do, but what you are seeing is the reflection of how much they love themselves. They can’t show you any more courtesy, respect, support and love than they show themselves. Giving them more of your love isn’t going to change them, it will only make them more aware of their own shortcomings. Since you have spent so much time supporting them, you now see where you have left your own life unsupported and that is a little overwhelming. It’s a little like not cleaning your house for a year and then trying to clean it up in an hour. You should take this one step at a time.
What have you not been doing or denying yourself that you now have time for? Are there any things you have not done in the past that you would now like to do? All of the attention you placed on others can now go to you. It would be helpful to make a list of what you used to do for your family and then see which of those things have been neglected in your own life. You might be surprised by how many there are. You may also re-discover some of your gifts and interests that you abandoned because you didn’t have time or because other people didn’t think they were important.
Do not be angry with your family, or hurt by their behavior. They have done their job in your life well, it was intended for them to teach you how to put yourself first, to be self-ish, which means taking care of yourself. Their job is finished now, so you can start focusing on you. What do you value about yourself and don’t answer that question by remembering all of the things your family didn’t value about you. Their value systems clash with yours, which is why they didn’t support or appreciate what you did for them. This next part of your life is about you and your family may eventually value you and your gifts, or not. Until then, set your intention for joy, love, peace, abundance and start appreciating yourself, even if you think you are doing it alone. Then you will begin to attract others who appreciate you and you will create a new soul family that can value you because they value themselves in the same way.
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