How do I get the balance right between keeping my family happy, but living my life the way I want to?
Last Updated: 04/14/2020 at 5:15am
Cynthia Stocker, LCSW,
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
My approach is direct, kind, honest & collaborative. My clients appreciate that I help them in a way that cuts through the jargon and gives clear explanations.
Top Rated Answers
I think when it comes to families, the dynamic is pretty tricky. At least in my experience, it has come down to either keeping my family happy (and trying to avoid conflict), or living my life and not letting them manipulate me into doing otherwise. There will always be people who don't agree with your choices or who aren't happy with you. But what truly matters is that you are happy with yourself, because you are the only one who has to face the consequences of your actions. You are the only one who has to live with your choices. Maybe your choices won't make your family happy, and that's okay. Sometimes we make sacrifices of our own to keep the people in our lives happy. And sometimes we must sacrifice our family's happiness to make ourselves happy. What matters more to you? Living your life or keeping your family happy? Can there be an in between where you are both happy? Maybe there can be. Have you tried to talk to them about this and try to come to a solution so that you can both be happy and live your lives? Do you have enough mutual respect where this is possible? Sometimes there is and sometimes there is not. It all depends on your situation.
First of all, I think that your personal life is not based on your friend's or your family's needs. You don't need to change anything in your life to build a stronger relationship with your siblings and parents. You have to remember that the person who really cares about you will always love you no matter what decisions you make in your life. People who really loves you will appreciate all of your decisions even if these decisions seems not acceptable for their type of thinking. If there are any people who tries to live your life you obviously should have a serious talk with them about the situation.
What I have learned, in various living situations, is that the best balance is one of respect. You should always respect the people you are living with- weather it be their region, politics, or even their food preferences. In the same sense, you have to respect yourself- Your own beliefs, practices, and ambitions. If you find you are living in a situation where equal respect is not being met, you need to find a way to either change your behavior without sacrificing your own values, or explain your differences in a civil way till an understanding is met. If you or the other party is not willing to accept your differences, or your values differ in a non-negotiable way, then it is best to distance yourself from them.
This balance can be a tricky one, but without question can it be solved! One thing I recommend is simply sitting down and having a conversation with the family members involved. Ask for some space, BUT don't kick them to curb. Family is the most important thing in life.
Who we are is a combination of what we want and what we are willing to compromise for those we love. Eventually, balance is the key. You need to make sure you have your priorities straight by measuring out your needs and never forgetting how important it is to maintain your relationships without sacrificing your own happiness.
Realize now that it's not about keeping a balance. Yes, it's okay to have a desire to keep your family happy, but if it impedes YOUR ability to be happy, than it is worth bothering to worry about. YOU are more important than anyone who would bother to judge you for simply wanting to live your life in a manner that makes you happiest.
You have to take a stand and tell your family that your happiness comes first because it's your life and if they love you they will support you, but you must also respect them and not willingly do something just to hurt or spite them. And have a relationship where you communicate with one another so you know what's going on in each other's minds.
It is very hard to keep both the family and yourself happy, but I believe listening to your heart and going on the path that it wants you to to keep you happy is best. Yes, keeping your family is good too, but you need to think about yourself as well as them.
It's a hard balance to find, and I think we spend our entire lives trying to discover what works for us. Myself, I try to do things that make my family happy /and/ contribute to my own happiness. In other parts of my life, this involves respectfully declining their advice and opinions so that I can make my own decisions, and yes, live my life the way that I want to.
The problem is that we often cannot combine both. Either or. Maybe focus on living your life, because otherwise you will resent your family for not "letting you live your life" and that can be very bitter and hard to shake off.
You can keep your family happy just as long as it is not interfering with your life. If you are doing way to much for the family but feel unhappy about it. Then you are doing something wrong. Retrace you steps and make sure that while making your family happy in the process also making yourself happy.
Respecting other people's needs and opinions is always a good idea, but that shouldn't control what you do. That said, consider whether the things your family wants from you might even be in your best interests, before deciding to just "keep them happy".
You could try to consult your family on what you want to do with your life and what makes you happy. I'm sure they'll u understand.
It's good to establish your values and your goals first. Then you can decide for yourself what is best for you.
Depends on what "living my life the way I want to" means to you. What DOES that mean to you, and is it realistic to imagine that you can ALWAYS keep your family happy?
Oh this is a hard one! I think a good balance is when you feel happy in providing them some happiness. When it becomes a chore, it's unbalanced. And I wanted to share a little tidbit I learned about balance! Have you ever stood on a blank and worked on balancing yourself? Balance is movement! At first when trying to balance, the movements are large, swaying from one direction to the next, side to side. But the more you work on it, those movements get smaller and more smooth, not as jerky as when you started. Even when you've reached your balance on the board, small movements are still happening. Still adjusting. And sometimes the wind blows and we go back to the more rocky movements, the board isn't slapping the ground.
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