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Relative Bliss

Many years ago, when the holiday season arrived and certain relatives were due to make their annual appearance, I felt a sense of increasing dread. Far too many of us suffer from the pain of family get-togethers, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Somehow we allow the expectations and demands of our family members to be the source of so much unhappiness and stress, when what we really want is to be authentically ourselves and at peace with our relatives. The conflict seems too often to be a choice between being authentic, which means no peace with certain relatives, or having peace at the price of being inauthentic. Being peaceful and authentic can define your relationship with your relatives. First, though, you may have to assess your relationship with the closest relative of all—you.

In order to change the nature of family relationships, you’ll have to change your mind about them and consider that you are the source of the anguish in your relationships, rather than the individual whom you’ve pegged as the most outrageous, the most despicable, or the most infuriating. Over the years, all of these individuals have been treating you exactly as you’ve allowed them to with your reactions and behaviors. This can miraculously change when you choose to be at peace with everyone in your life—most particularly, your relatives.

If the focus of your inner dialogue about your family members is on what they’re doing that’s wrong, then that’s precisely how your relationship with them will be experienced. If your inner speech centers on what’s annoying about them, that’s what you’ll notice. But if you’re thinking, I am authentic and peaceful with this relative, then that’s what you’ll experience—even if that relative continues to be exactly the way he or she has always been.

The key to having peace in all your family relationships is forgiveness. Your relatives are simply doing what they’ve been taught to do over a lifetime, and the lifetimes of many of their ancestors. Shower them with understanding and forgiveness from your heart. Rather than being in a state of non-peace concerning any family members, say a prayer of gratitude for their presence in your life and all that they have come to teach you.

The likelihood is great that you’ll see dramatic changes in your relatives as you teach them with your own persona how you intend to be treated. But if they don’t change, and if they continue their nonpeaceful ways, let go of your need to see them transformed. It all works in divine order, and the saying Let go and let God guarantees your own peace, and you dramatically increase the odds of helping others to do the same.

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parvin says:

Our relatives act like a small community that have the same blood. Having a social gathering with your relatives gives you strenth and a self cognition, and freshness is the result of it. Talking is constructive when you are open minded and be honest. Respecting the elderlies is a nice thing to remember.

Sharon says:

well Dr Dyer once more you read my mind and addressed the issues so clearly Thank you and I cant imagine life without you as my spiritual Guru. Awesome

Joshua says:

Change your mind and everything else will follow.

Rich F. says:

Unfortunately I have no difficult relatives to test my ability to stay peaceful.

Debra says:

What if you are with someone that is mostly negative? I married someone who is 15 yrs.older when we met I was 25(I’m 49) I now see things different since the passing(8yrs) of my 19 yr. daughter. (he’s not the bio father, but a dad to her) I feel I’m growing into a whole new world & he’s not. I’m sad & unhappy in my present life. It’s complicated.

Christopher Wayne says:

If a family member is having a hard time they will notice everyone else notice their hard time. If I chose not to notice the hardships or shortcomings of family members and instead send them love and acceptance they inturn notice love in me because that is all I am. That person may feel safe around me and open up because the love they see in me.

Mary says:

I have been being true to my authentic self for the past few weeks after reading a book called Frequency by Penney Peirce.Things have not gone smoothly because I no longer play the poor Mary… take care of everyone else card.

Sharon says:

Sheesh there I am, I have that family problem with sisters and half my children. It was a perfect affirmation of how to handle the whole thing which gets complicated with the holidays. I do know Dr Dyers teachings work and “My pain” can become “The Pain” The hurt absolved with forgiveness and gratitude

John C. says:

4evr gr8tfl-n- encouraged by ur words.I tanku again for your recent visit2 the Javitz Center. Im striving 2b 1of the “few” 2reach that place inside where I can walk in2 a room in casual dress & “not notice” evry1 else in their black tie attire.U r my Fatherofinspiration-n- hope2 learn more&help others dothe same, as u have& continue 2do.

Christopher Wayne Richards says:

Chose peace and you cant go wrong. Alow every one to be the way they are. Let the Inner Being shine through. Forgive and see through those who cloak the spirit with anger, resentment, regret, shame. The more you notice the negativity the more it grows. LET GO LET GOD = FEEL GOOD FEEL GOD. Positivity and your source energy will enlighten the moment.

Deborah says:

Blessings and prayers to you.I thought about you a lot on Thanksgiving and tried to practice detachment.I am thankful to have you to look up to!
Namaste, Deborah

Kenneth says:

Happy Holidays to you Dr.Dyer. I am thankful to you for your words of guidance into a fuller, richer life for me. This year I will be surrounded by all those loved ones who choose to have me in their lives. I will send thoughts of love and caring to those who do not choose to have me in their lives. Every moment is precious.

Willam says:

Thanks for all. You really inspire me and all the friends I Introduced to you.They are all reading your books.

NANCY says:

Past, Present, Future aren’t continuous unless you make it so. The future duplicates the past by memory….GOD is present (now)! Live in the moment and enjoy your family!

The greatest mistake most people make: We listen Half, Understand Quarter, Think Zero, React Double, and remember Forever!

Jan says:

Thank you, Wayne! I have had also a father who drunk and abused my mother. I love him. My family stopped together our gambling addiction. We love you with all of our hearts.

Thanks Wayne!

I am 45 and i cried from happiness and love when i saw the first minutes of your movie THE GIFT
Thank you GOD

Rafael says:

Great article.It is wonderfull attitude against difficult relatives but this does not means that you are oblige to have social realtions with them in case that makes you to feel bad!

Nealon Hightower, Six Simple Truths says:

Plus, remember, believe it or not, we chose these people when we decided to come into ourselves at conception. Thanks Wayne. I guess peace is in the heart of the beholder.

Joseph Wadas says:

Our relatives see the best and worst in all of us. When we hold onto anger, hurt, resentment from the past it holds us back from becoming what we were meant to be. Forgiveness is the best gift we can give ourselves! We can even be thankful for those who teach us forgiveness, for they teach us to become more like our Source! Namaste!


Thank you, as always. Blessings – love to you. Valerie in San Francisco 🙂

Patti Breen says:

Hey Dr Dyer, as I read this I am listening to our Erroneous Zones on tape yes tape 🙂 Words that ring true thru the years! You are still teaching them today. Good to meet you in DC, thanks again.

Donna says:

In the phrase “Let go and let God,” I am reminded that the only difference between “let go” and “let God” is the final letter “d” in God. This letter reminds me that seeking the (d)ivine (d)elivers us and allows our higher purpose to be discovered and embraced. We are all family. We are the “I Am.” There is no separation.

Mucunda says:

Nice article.
Have a happy thanksging with you family and friends .
Special greeting to ram Dass