WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

September 4, 2012

Feeding the Family WordFood

I have a friend who has a brother who got involved with a survivalist movement a few years back. His politics are radical to say the least. He has collected a basement full of guns and ammunition, and he gives considerable funds that he can hardly afford to movements that support far right wing activities based on fear and hate.  Conversations are challenging, political discussions impossible. Yet talk they do, their connection by blood immutable, their bond unbreakable, and my friend’s commitment to his brother unshakable despite the differences.

In a divisive election year, feelings are high. In close families, family members get in terrible arguments over jobs or social programs, or they can’t agree over a candidate. Or maybe there are divisions over religious choices. No matter who we are, we all have relatives we deem either unfit or unworthy or black sheep or somehow no longer acceptable. Yet, they’re still family.

In the confines of families we can do our worst damage, yet that is where we can also do our greatest good, learn our most important lessons, and draw our greatest courage, if we choose. There is nothing more important than our blood connection, and learning to accept, forgive, support and love those we gave birth to, grew up with and must lay claim to as family. Even if that means we must ultimately distance ourselves from those who will self destruct, they still deserve our love. Compassion is a powerful thing.

Nothing is so painful as a sudden death which deprives you of the chance to say “I’m sorry or Please forgive me.”  Pride is a terrible price to pay when someone is gone, and you realize that a simple gesture could have healed a rift. 

Keep in mind that the imagination is a busy actor and it loves to fill silence with its own version of what someone else feels or thinks about us. And it is a terrible liar most of the time. The truth is that we cannot possibly know what another person thinks or feels about us. If there is a family rift, be the first one to heal it.

In my family, I have a cousin who has finally healed a 16-year long silence with her big brother. After years of angry stories about each other, they are talking, warmly, and they are a family again. Nothing can replace family.

What kind, healing WordFood do you need to say to a family member to rebuild a connection? Heal a wound? Ask for forgiveness? Even if you’re for Obama and they’re for Romney, it makes no difference. Love trumps politics. Love trumps everything.

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