Words of Wellness

December 26, 2008 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

A Higher Degree of Resolution

We gave our adult children digital cameras for Christmas this year.† Doing the research to figure out which ones to buy was a bit daunting, given all the choices available.† Key decision points had to be made about size, zoom and what degree of resolution (pixels per square inch) was important.† Higher degrees of resolution cost more, but clearly produce the most beautiful results.†

†††† As the calendar turns to a new year later this week, many of us will once again, either formally or informally, think about resolutions for our lives.† It is a natural time for us to reflect upon the many dimensions of wellness in our lives--physical, spiritual, emotional and relational--and consider improvements we would like to make.†

†††† Seeing how these Weekly Words of Wellness come from a Family Wellness Center, it only seems natural that I would make the following recommendation for a new year's resolution:† Choose a relationship in your family or extended family that you would like to improve this year.†

†††† Now that you have chosen which relationship you want to improve, decide what YOU are willing to do to make this happen.† When we are unhappy with a family relationship we are usually extremely clear on what the other person needs to do to change and improve the relationship.† "If only they would......... our relationship would be so much better."† As part of your resolution you will have to instead focus on "if only I would...........our relationship would be so much better."

†††† Start with small steps.† Send an email or a note.† Follow up with a phone call.† Lead with love and affirmation, and be honest about yourself.† "I feel like I haven't† done a great job staying connected with you as you brother/sister/son/daughter/uncle/spouse........ and so I've decided I want to change that.† You are important to me and I'm going to make our relationship more of a priority."† Slow and steady is the key.† Don't be deterred if efforts to connect are initially met with distrust.† It takes effort and commitment over time to soften hard edges.†

†††† Most cameras today have settings for both auto-focus and manual focus.† Family relationships that have become conflicted tend to be ones where both parties auto-focus on what's wrong with the other person.† If our resolution is to improve a conflicted relationship we are going to have to turn off the auto-focus and manually, mindfully focus on the good in the other person, not just once, but over and over again until we earn their trust back.

†††† My research on digital cameras confirmed that higher degrees of resolution cost more, but clearly produce the most beautiful results.† My research and experience as a marriage and family therapist confirms that the same is true of our family relationships.

Read more Words of Wellness