This weekend a movie (English Vinglish!) and a conversation with a friend made me think of something very important. We often take family for granted and sometimes the unkindest cut of all comes from those closest to us. They may not aim to be mean. It might be just a thoughtless remark or an angry outburst that they regret later but you are often unkinder to family than you are to distant friends and even enemies.
I remember once yelling at my Mom who allowed me an extra hour of sleep after I had shot an all night shift for a music video. I remember telling her unkindly that she was trying to sabotage my career- a statement so mean and thoughtless in retrospect, I wish I could go back to that day and take it back. She was just worried about how tired I was and I was just being a brat! A friend was talking about her mother-in-law and discussing how she was dealing with her son and telling him that he had joined the family business to ensure his inheritance , not assuming for one moment that he’d made their dreams his, that he’d put aside his desires to pursue a field of his choice by doing what he feels is the responsible thing and looking after a company created by his parents and continuing their legacy. He had been hurt by her thoughtless statements and wondered whether he had done something wrong by telling her how he felt.
As children we sometimes lash out without meaning it…there is no justification for our actions but my belief is that you must understand that it could have caused pain and you must be truly sorry for hurting someone you care about. I’m sorry Amma and I’m sorry Achan. I’m sure I lashed out thoughtlessly and senselessly at times and considering you always worked to make my life a better life and worked towards my goals, putting my dreams ahead of your own- I’m truly sorry.
But it’s not only the children who are at fault…In some cases parents also voice their own insecurities in mean and hurtful ways.
As adults sometimes it so happens that your parents are unnecessarily critical or flippant with some remarks and that could cause you pain as well. As adults I think it’s important to tell each other why it’s not okay to make a quick, snide comment or make a thoughtless judgement about someone in your family. You might be their children but they are also human and sometimes they may be having a bad day, be in pain, alone or just sad and maybe snapping at you was their way of trying to hurt you so you could feel part of what they’re feeling. It’s still not okay to hurt you so it’s important you tell them that and get down to the actual base of the matter and deal with that sensitively.
Even if it’s family , when an opinion is unfair, overly critical or hurtful- tell them. We protect the feelings of co-workers, of friends and are even tactful when it comes to enemies so why is okay to walk all over the feelings of family?
Each one of us has hurt our family several times. Think about that today and next time don’t. Also the next time you get hurt by their flippant remark- don’t be afraid to tell them. Respect and boundaries are important- EVEN FOR FAMILY!