I Am My Own Keeper

This is my Living Out Loud enrty for Genie@inabottle. This months theme is My Brother’s Keeper.

There were six of us born to the same parents. A twelve year age span designated a specific place in the family for each of us. Though we lived in the same household, the age variance made our memories of childhood and perspective of life in general distinctive. After all, living is a matter of perspective. Some people live in the past while others plan for the future. Some choose to live in the moment. For some of the six siblings, time stands still, they don’t let go. Some never look back. And some accept the past and just live. Who is to say what is right or wrong? It just is. The truth is that one simple choice has made all the difference in where we are each at today. Much of it comes down to living victoriously or being a victim of life.

Our life paths have been motivated by unlike personalities with each striving for his/her own dreams in life. Some personalities are domineering and manipulative; others responsible and hardworking. Some are motivated by purpose, some by money. Some are financially successful; some not. Some are internally fulfilled; some not. Some never strived for anything because they expected the world to be handed it to them. Some are still searching.

Opinions and expectations are probably the largest obstacles to maintaining peace in our large family. Difficulties arise dealing with strong personalities, theology, financial matters, illnesses, and addictions. Identifying that fine line between enabling and accepting is a struggle. Everyone has an opinion and thinks his/hers is the correct one. Learning when to keep them to yourself is an art. Usually there is someone who wants to do all the talking and little listening. And most times, it’s better to just mind your own business. Sometimes, more is expected from others than is given. I believe that one should never expect more from others than he/she is willing to give him/herself. Sometimes, it stems from jealousy and accusations that life isn’t fair. Life might not be fair, but it is what one makes of it.

I was once ruled by my family. Now, I am responsible for my own life and happiness. I no longer allow myself to be controlled or manipulated, nor do I depend on anyone for protection or assistance. I used to be a peacemaker. Now, I maintain my own peace of mind. I have found that detachment has been a passageway to peace in my life. I’ve learned how to love without being pushy, and I know how and when to walk away. I have not cut anyone from my life, but I have established boundaries when relationships are destructive to my own well-being. Detachment simply means I’ve chosen acceptance over resistance.

Whether or not I agree with their philosophy of life, I love all of my siblings. Our differences make us who we are. I am learning to accept their flaws just as they are learning to accept mine. I hope one day we will reach that quiet place of acceptance…no judgments, no expectations, just able to share a memory or two, and a bit of laughter. As always some will arrive early, some will arrive late, and some may never arrive at all.

49 thoughts on “I Am My Own Keeper

  1. Isn’t it interesting that being “family” has nothing to do with “sameness” or even “friends”. Family members love one another in spite of themrselves, sometimes. You are wise – accepting who they are, not requiring that their values be the same as yours, not expecting your wellbeing to depend on their approval. Stick to your path, appreciate the fact that you have a husband and sons who are on the same path. And love the differences in each and every family member and friend.

    • You’re right, we don’t get to pick our family, but we can choose to love them and to what extent we want to be involved in their lives. I have friends who truly feel like family to me. Acceptance on all parts is important.

  2. Wow! This is incredible. Very well written. It seems to cover it all. It sounds firm yet with a loving and kind tone. Wow!

    I know people that are very close to their siblings so it is diffucult sometimes, I believe, for them to understand how not everyone is super close to their siblings.

    I understand: “I have established boundaries when relationships are destructive to my own well-being. Detachment simply means I’ve chosen acceptance over resistance”.

    I am SOOOO mentally applauding you and this!

    I love Carol’s comment too!

    • Thank you, Terre. It takes tact to deal with a family this size of various opinions and everyone is in everyone’s business. Distance…physical and emotional helps tremendously.

  3. Very well put, I’m estranged from my brother because his wife is from a different culture and finds me a bit strange. It took me a while to realise that it’s not ‘my stuff’ but hers.
    Que sera.

  4. Wow…I have followed your writings for a while and your heart is gracious =a lesson to so many of us!! I have no siblings, so I can’t talk from the same sideline but you have risen above all the things that is not really important in the end. You are on the right path….and I respect you so much for that. Much love always ~ Amanda x

  5. That kind of age difference truly spans a generation. it was a different time for them and for your parents. Your attitude is really the best. You can only control you, and they have to deal with their stuff. And one day (God willing) you can rest in harmony at that quiet place.

    • You’re right. It is like two different generations. I became the only child left the summer of my seventh grade, so I was very much an only child, more so than any of the others.

  6. Happy Belated Birthday!
    I am sorry for missing it…
    I have been late or lazy about celebrating member’s birthday days…

    I will try to cook up a post,
    your birthday,
    wordwnad’s birthday,
    get well wishes for viola and wordwand…

    I appreciate your kindness, open mind, and tolerance.

    cheers! Smile!

    • Thanks, but don’t feel badly…I didn’t publicize it, so only few online knew! When was Abderrahim’s birthday? I need to drop Viola a line to see how things are going.

  7. Very heartfelt and reflective piece. You are so very right, our family will always be our family no matter what, but it is our choice, based on our relationships with them, as to how involved or uninvolved we remain with them. People are who they are largely because that is how they were born – nature rules and so family members can often look very alike but as people be totally different. Great post.

  8. Choosing acceptance over resistance… this is so vital to the well being of all, so not to remain stuck in the past…My motto is to”keep moving forward.” Great post…I’m sure everyone will take something from this one to apply in their own lives. Heartspell

  9. suzicate;

    A heartfelt and a spiritually mature place to have arrived in life. Living from the inside out instead of being controlled from the outside in.

    Happy Birthday! almost right smack dab on the solar eclipse, wow!

    May your fondest dreams come to fruition.


  10. This was just wild to read because the similarity between you and I is remarkable. I am also one of six siblings, and everything you wrote parallels my family. Unreal.

  11. I can so relate to what you say. There are six children in my family. I am the oldest. My baby sister is 19 years younger than I am. We are all very different from one another, and have different philosophies of life. This is hard for some of my siblings to accept. I accepted it many years ago.

    I just want to be accepted for who I am and I will accept them as well. It is hard sometimes to be in a family when you are different. There are always questions as to why. Sometimes we see other families, and they seem closer, more alike than different and that is hard for some of my siblings.

    It doesn’t mean that there isn’t love among us, but siblings relate differently to one another in each family.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. “Opinions and expectations are probably the largest obstacles to maintaining peace in our large family”

    I think this is true with all families, as you pointed out on the opinions some think they are always right and will do anything to prove it, stepping away and being responsible for your own actions is the best direction to go and it appears you have a handle on it my Friend.

    Loved this Post.

  13. They sure can be challenging; siblings, but I think there’s a reason we’re thrown together with these people. And let’s face it, those that infuriate us and hurt us the most are usually the greatest teachers too, even if it’s just in making us toughen up a little.
    You’re got the right attitude though, suzicate.
    You’re blessed with a good heart.
    X Lisa

  14. Happy belated birthday Suzicate. You are correct about family…we don’t choose them… but we can appreciate them for who they are. Interesting..I find I also have another family now…my blog family and I value them for their unique qualities too. Of course I consider you part of this family and appreciate you for all that you are!

  15. Suzicate, I’ve known people who got stuck in relationships with their families and witnessed how much destruction it caused them and the fact that you “stepping away” and setting your own boundaries is a remarkable thing, it shows how strong.

  16. It is amazing how children born of the same parents and brough up alike can turn out so different

    YOU turned out just peach-keen-sweetly-fine and wonderful! (I can sense these things!)


  17. What a beautiful post, Suzi. I think it’s so amazing – and I think I said this also when you posted the JW post – that despite some very fundamental life choice differences between you and your family, you manage to maintain good relationships with them, without feeling guilty for being who you are and how you want to be.

  18. Now if only all of my family would read this, maybe we could all have some peace and harmony. I have recently been trying to step away from the role of peacemaker. So far only two of my siblings has come to respect that desicion. Still keeping my fingers crossed to stay steadfast in my desicion.

    Great post as always!

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