The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reconciliation - Starting Fresh

Often, re-establishing relationships with family members can appear to be an impossible task. Yet, sometimes people are surprised when the road to healing leads to new beginnings.

Most people I’m acquainted with who have successfully mended an estrangement, didn’t go back and re-hash specific events from the past. For this reason healing prior wounds on your own is very important.

If you believe the time may be right to reconcile – move slowly. Understand that the process of healing broken relationships does not happen overnight. Resolution can take months and even years. Take baby steps while you begin to build trust – both in yourself and with your relatives. It is much easier to move forward slowly than it is to try to pull back if you have moved too fast.

Balance your hope with realistic expectations. Reconciliation doesn't mean the relationship will be perfect. Hopefully, with growth, you will have developed new ways to respond to old patterns.

Start out accentuating the positive. Find common ground. Reminisce about good memories, share mutual interests, and express positive feelings.

If you have been estranged from your entire family, rather than “jumping” right back in and seeing all of them at once, you may want to consider staggering separate visits.

At first, keep your time short and don’t discuss difficult issues that come up with your family until you have had time to work through intense emotions alone or with supportive friends. Spend time in between visits adjusting to and absorbing the many positive and negative conflicting emotions you will experience by sharing with trusted confidants: a therapist, a minister, friends, and/or support groups.

Expect to navigate some slippery slopes and develop ways to help you cope with new situations. You may want to limit the length of your visits at first and insulate yourself by not spending one-on-one time with a family member if you don’t feel safe.

After attempting reconciliation, you may be satisfied with the results and you may not. You can only control your half of the relationship.

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