Family of Choice

Updated insider information by Chellie Campbell, author of “The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction”

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321-November 17

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”—Mark Twain

I have written of the wonderful blessings of my family. The older I get and the more I learn of the family circumstances of others, the more I appreciate my good fortune in this regard. If you have not been one of the fortunate ones born to a supportive family, this page is for you.

I know people whose fathers were absent, and others who wish their fathers had been absent. I am aware of people whose mothers abandoned them for drugs or drug dealers. I have heard stories that curdled my blood and made me weep. When my friend told me that her father “was a monster” and shared just how he proved it, I was shaken to my soul. I remembered my own father telling me that there were people who looked like human beings, talked like human beings—but they weren’t human beings. So what do you do if you were tied to one at birth?

1. Get out physically. A friend of mine told me that his wife put herself in a foster home when she was a youth because of the terrible circumstances of her home life. What courage and determination that must have taken! I hope she writes a book about that. In her action is part of the answer: Remove yourself from the poison. Whatever it takes, whenever you have the realization that where you are is not healthy, get out as soon as you are able to do so.

2. Get out mentally. If your family of origin is awful, create a family of choice that’s beautiful. Get as much professional therapy as you need to understand and let go of your terrible past so that you can create a wonderful present. Find other successful escapees and ask them to mentor you and help you gather courage. Spend as little time as possible recreating negative images of your past in your mind, focusing instead on the positive pictures you envision for your present and future…

3. Get out spiritually. Find a religious philosophy that uplifts you and gives you peace. Find a spiritual practice that affirms that there is light, beauty, solace, and comfort for you. Find a God that loves you.

Continued on page 321 of The Wealthy Spirit

Today’s Affirmation: “I celebrate my family of choice!”

Cousins reunion 2011 group photo in Brevard, North Carolina

So many people suffered financial setbacks since the financial meltdown of 2008, and my heart went out to them. I talked with a friend facing foreclosure of her home who was trying to regain some balance and perspective. It’s difficult to do when you’re in the middle of your own personal meltdown, and fears of the future loom when you don’t clearly see the way out. It’s especially hard when you have friends who are doing well, or who survived their financial setbacks, or who actually convinced a bank to refinance their mortgage at a lower rate. You are at once happy for them, but maybe you also find a little resentment can’t help but creep in – like “why were they able to refinance when I couldn’t do it?” or “why is my business down and their’s isn’t?”

We can’t help but think that way sometimes. We weep and curse our fate and say, “Why me?” But then I always think the answer is, “Why not you?” And I start thinking about all the people on the earth who are worse off than I’ve ever been, who don’t have enough to eat or their economy has 50% unemployment or they’re at war. Yes, there may be some people who are better off but I’ll bet there are tons more who are worse off.

If you want a real dose of balance and perspective, read “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn about life in a Siberian labor camp. When I read it, I had to wrap a warm blanket around me, drink hot tea, and eat lots of food. Or “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl who wrote about surviving the Nazi concentration camps. You read about people who are broken, cold, starving, and have what looks like zero prospects for a better life, and you become really grateful for all you’ve got really fast.

Gratitude is the key. In studying happiness, researchers found that the only thing that made people happier was to keep a gratitude journal and write in it often. Changing your focus to be appreciative of all that you have instead of worrying about what you don’t have will put you in a state of mind that allows you to see opportunities. You will survive and you will thrive again! You may not see how today, but answers will come. Think positive, send out ships, and count your blessings and life will get better for you. It’s called a gratitude adjustment.