Your Family and Your Legacy
Words of Wisdom from Amazon Bestseller “Don’t Let Adversity Steal your Legacy.”
“Family over everything” is a quote I’m sure you’ve all heard. Family is very important, and for most people, their family is their main support system and foundation. Because of this, we generally feel that we will be there for our family no matter what the circumstance because as they say “loyalty” is everything and “family always comes first.” And although we want to do everything in our might to help out our parents, children, and close relatives, sometimes the best thing to do is show them we believe in them by giving them the gift of personal responsibility.
An example of gifting personal responsibility would be your child’s challenges after graduating from college. Not everyone is guaranteed a high earning job the moment they graduate, so for most, the moment they stop being a student, “real life” swoops in so fast, they are unsure how to handle it. Your first instinct may be to go into nurturing mode and have them return home to take care of them like you were used to doing in the past. This is a natural feeling, but it is important to consider the impact this decision can have on the relationship long term; this can affect your emotional legacy.
Another example regards a friend of mine. There was a time she was struggling to support a sibling. This sibling was living life on a whim. Not saving money, couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t sustain interpersonal relationships, and was just spiraling down. She felt personally responsible to help him in any way she could, be It financially (paying bills), spending all of her free time trying to find him jobs (that he couldn’t hold on to anyway), and draining herself to make sure he was ok. Rather than teaching him to fish, she kept providing the “fish” from her personal stash. To make matters worse, he was not very appreciative and she constantly felt overwhelmed and unacknowledged. This was not helpful for either party, but it was being done because she believed you must do everything for her family.
“Your failure to plan does not constitute
an emergency for me.”
– Alvin Darien II
This is an example of her brother failing to plan, and now his emergencies becoming hers. Guilt makes it hard to say “no” to family members, but in this situation, the best way to help him that could possibly benefit them both was to let him take responsibility for his own life and challenges.
The moment she took the responsibility off of herself, she flourished. Her business grew, and he became motivated based on seeing her accomplish things once she took her life back into her hands.
Now, imagine you being in a similar situation.
Imagine that every personal adversity you have in your life is stone. You are strong enough to carry your own stones, and others in your family see how effortlessly you handle this weight, so they give you a few of theirs. Should you help relieve some of their weight, or have them figure it out on their own?
There is no right or wrong answer to this, but keep in mind that every decision you make has an effect. So, outweigh the options. For example, if you are doing well financially, maybe you can afford to help someone out financially here and there, but chances are, they may expect this kind of help every time they are in a bind. Can you afford to do this? Both financially and emotionally?
- Are there any situations in your life where you feel you are overextending yourself to help others in your family? If so, is there something you can be doing differently to preserve yourself without feeling guilty?
- What stones are you willing to carry? Set limitations for yourself.
- Make sure your family knows you love them, and because you love them, you must allow them to take personal responsibility for their own lives.
- Talk to your family and let them know your goals and priorities.