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Surviving A
Dysfunctional Family
10 Ways to Make Peace 
With the Past and
Create a New Future
A series of simple principles that shows how to grow through experience by drawing on the innate wisdom within you to transform your life and relationships, and reawaken your dreams.
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Paperback ISBN#  0-7388-3657-5
Hardback ISBN#  0-7388-3658-3
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  COUNSELING

Suzanne Gold has a Master's degree in Psychology, a certificate in ministry from the Universal Life Church, and  many years of study in spiritual principles and methods. 
She is available for personal and spiritual counseling on life, relationships, and work issues in person or by telephone.

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Ten  Ways  To  Make  Peace  With  The  Past 
And   Create   A   New   Future
  Everyone comes into life with a purpose. You are a unique expression of the universal life force at the foundation of your physical form. Spirit guides you from the moment your life begins, and the people and events of your life reflect its journey. No one else ever has or will affect the world as you do. With every act, word or thought, you are adding to All-That-Is.
   Your family is your first and most influential bond. What you learn from them colors the way you see yourself and the world. As a child, your physical helplessness makes you dependent on the people closest to you for survival, yet often those relationships are destructive intead of supportive. The family you join already has tendencies: patterns, beliefs, and attitudes which they expect you to share. Going along gets you what you need, so you adapt to fit in. But when you ignore your instincts, you don't feel right, and you may create the opposite of what you intend.
   The good news is that you don't have to be a victim of your upbringing. Although a dysfunctional family can crush your self-esteem, confuse you, and wreck your relationships, the distortion of your natural instincts can be reversed. Your problems can show you what you don't want, and inspire you to go after what you'd rather have so you can set yourself free to become the person you wnat to be and create a life you love.
   No matter what happens, trust that what you go through will enlighten you. Don't be discouraged. Change doesn't happen overnight. It comes little by little, more and more, deepening your ability to love, create, and make a difference personally and in society. The most important thing is a dedication to trying something new and learning from your experience.
   Surviving a dysfunctional family doesn't necessarily mean getting along better with your relatives. You make peace with the past by treating difficult situations, thoughts, emotions and people as opportunities to unravel the knots in your heart and mind that keep you stuck. You create a new future by drawing on your innate wisdom to help you release dysfunctional patterns and find the faith in yourself that will support you in making your dreams come true. When you do your best, you tap into a power that's been within you all along, in even the most difficult circumstances, even when you weren't aware of it.
   So how do you go about doing this? Here are ten ways to spark change in your life and relationships:

1. SET A NEW COURSE 
    Follow your heart
   Your new course is first an internal one, which paves the way for external changes. If you're not satisfied with your life as it is, start by imagining how it can get better. What happens in your life is largely up to you, so make it a priority to figure out how to create what you want, to face your obstacles and follow through on your good ideas. Take time every day to think about how you'd like your life to be. Be willing to try new things. Courage is accepting reality as it is and working within it to make your dreams come true. Focus on ideas and feelings that light you up, and allow yourself to feel excited about your possibilities. What you dedicate yourself to, you can create.

2. TRUST YOUR INTUITION 
    Open to inner wisdom
   Listen for the "still small voice" inside. Within you is a guidance system that makes itself known through your thougrhts and emotions. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and believe in yourself in the face of criticism. Have good intentions. Rely on your own sense of what's right, and do what you think is best at the moment. Stand your ground. Believe in yourself in the face of criticism. No one else can tell you what you need or want. Life can be confusing, and some people do try to manipulate you in devious ways. If something doesn't feel right, it may may mean that it's not for you. Wonder about why not, and what you'd like instead. Your instincts will lead you to where you need to be at the perfect moment for the best results.

3. LOOK FOR A SILVER LINING
    Develop a positive attitude
    How things appear is affected by how you look at them. Your interpretations shape your ideas and behavior, which in turn influences how others see you. Search for the positive. Focusing on the negative dulls your energy and ability to cope. Spirit underlies everything, regardless of whether you think that something as good or bad. No matter how awful a situation seems, find something in it to appreciate. Ask yourself, what can I learn here? What good could come from this? You already have inside you the resources to make peace with the past and create a new future. You just have to learn how to use them.

4. TAKE A STEP BACK 
    Get a bigger picture
    Be on the lookout for destructive habitual patterns. Noticing is the first step to breaking them. Don't fight them, just observe your thoughts and feelings. The deeper you can go, the more you unravel your stuck places. Bring spirit into the process by inviting metaphysical help. Be influenced by others' opinions only if they inspire you. You don't have to convince anyone of your right to have your life as you want it.

5. WATCH WHAT YOU SAY 
   Communicate effectively
  Be aware of your effect on others. Be kind. Tell the truth. Emphasize the positive. Give compliments and encouragement. Make things right. Don't just listen to what is said, watch the facial expressions and gestures, and listen to the tone of voice. Notice what you say and what others say to you, and learn to read between the lines. Choose your battles. Know when to shut up or decline to answer. Don't interrupt, brag, one-up, or pretend you're something you're not. Allow different points of view. Don't brag, one-up, pretend you're something you're not, or congratulate yourself too much. Don't give advice unless you're asked. Don't gossip-- it wastes time you could be using to empower yourself. Watch what you listen to. Don't put up with disrespect, manipulation or negative thinking from anyone, including yourself. Don't assume you're being understood. Check it out.

6. DON'T KEEP SCORE
    Set your own standards
   Life is not about success or failure. Although both teach valuable lessons, fulfilling your potential is the essential goal. Adversity can build strength. If a dream sours, let it go without judgment or remorse. Assume it's no longer relevant, and look for new options. Accepting change brings peace of mind. Even a losing battle can be a steppingstone to a better situation.

7. NO VICTIMS, NO VILLAINS
   Take responsibility
    Relationships are like jigsaw puzzles. All the pieces fit together to create the whole. You are not responsible for anyone else's feelings, nor are they for yours. You're not required to betray yourself for anyone else's sake, so there's no guilt, no blame, no shame. Accept each moment as if you've chosen it. If someone hurts you, look for what you can learn from it. Holding a grudge drains your energy. Forgiveness doesn't mean that what happened is not okay with you: it means releasing that person's power to upset you. You may never forget, but letting go of resentment is healing. This goes double for forgiving yourself.

8. MEDITATE AND TREAT YOURSELF WELL
    Nurture yourself 
   Make time to have fun and enjoy life. Believe in your dreams. Celebrate your successes, big and small. Laugh. Take walks in nature. Spend time alone. Something as simple as a warm bath or a good stretch can do wonders to improve your perspective. Exercise, rest and eat when you need to, and drink lots of water. Meditation calms your conscious thinking mind so you can get in touch with your inner wisdom. Count your breaths, or silently repeat a soothing word or phrase like "peace" or "well-being." Imagine a healing light shining through you, easing your emotional and physical pain. When your mind wanders, and it will, just bring your focus back and start again. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference.

9. GET OUTSIDE HELP
    See beyond your blind spots
   Under the right circumstances, talking about your feelings can create change, no matter how embarrassing, strange or awful they may seem to you. An objective outsider can help you clear up confusion and set your creative energy free. Get counseling, either by yourself or with family members. Find someone you trust and feel compatible with, and be willing to pour your heart out. don't follow advice blindly. Examine both sides of any issue. Try art, sports, music, or dance for fun and /or therapy. Join a group with similar interests or circumstances to yours. Read self-help books. Most have at least some helpful nuggets, and can reassure you that you're not alone. Don't expect The Answer, but serve yourself a variety of ideas and explore what makes sense to you.

10. MOVE ON
     Graduate to living fully 
   Respect your own boundaries. Your first commitment is to yourself, and to learning from your experience. If you're not there for yourself, you can't be there for anyone else. Do what you can, and do your best, but not at your own expense. Live your own truth, be honorable, and intend the best for everyone, especially yourself. Your internal changes can alter what happens in your life, but you have no control over what others feel or think no matter how much you care, or how badly you think they need help. When conflict arises, try to work things through. But if you feel hopeless, scapegoated, threatened or frantic, retreat may be the only appropriate choice, at least for the moment. It's perfectly all right to let go of what doesn't suit you any more. To leave your mark on future generations, pass along what you learn.

     I wish you healing, faith and the courage to make your dreams come true.
                                                                                  Suzanne

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