MUST-READ: Family Goals, Embracing the Imperfections of Family Life by Michele S. Alignay

August 09, 2017
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"If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”
- Mother Theresa

The family is the core of the society. What makes up a family including its values and principles can contribute in any way for the good and happiness of the community. It's the responsibility of the husband and wife to fulfill their duties to themselves and their children out of love and not by mere obligation. The members of the family should grow together and reach their goals as one. Together, they can live their lives to the fullest, pulling one another up, and must be willing to pull back a family member that is becoming out of sync. 

The family members must be mindful. In my own words it means that they should be physically, spiritually, psychologically, and mentally present whenever they are together. Spending time with one another should be quantified by time and quality. They should know their priorities and be always there for everyone. Therefore, nobody should be left behind.

Problems arise but resilience, understanding, patience, respect, love, and most of all, making God as the center of the family makes the relationship among its members more happy, fruitful, and meaningful.

Reading the book, "Family Goals, Embracing the Imperfections of Family Life by Michele S. Alignay", made me realize so many things. It prompted me to reflect on our family's condition, validate that somehow our family has been doing the right things when it comes to facing challenges, and answer so many personal questions as a mom.

Are we living as a family that God wants us to be?
Are we having a harmonious relationship?
Do we deal with trials and problems properly?
Am I fulfilling my duties as a wife and mom?
Do I fully understand that each member of my family is different and be treated with utmost respect, loyalty, and love?
Am I a mindful person all the time?

I am not being hard on myself but sometimes I feel inadequate as a mom and wife. I am not perfect. I also feel tired and burned-out. When I am so exhausted, sometimes I do things only out of obligation.

I also whined, felt so empty that nothing was left for myself figuratively and literally. Maybe, you had the same experience. Like me, surely you also felt guilty.

After reading this book,  I felt that there's nothing wrong with acknowledging our true feelings. What would matter most would be knowing how to channel our efforts positively and making sure that we would be basing our decisions for the good of the entire family.

Obviously, there are so things to be done and learned as I live with my family. This book has helped me in so many ways to improve my relationship with my spouse and kids. Honestly, I am still a work in progress. I would like to share some excerpts from the book that struck me.

1 "The heart of family bonding is more than the place where the family is or the occasions we celebrate. It's more than the food on the table or the activity we share. The heart is that portion of ourselves we willingly share with our family, without losing the essence of individuality. That 'I' in the family builds the healthy beautiful 'we'."

2  "You can enrich your relationships and converse in a deeper gut level by having the guts to talk, to laugh, to whine, and to mutually connect with the very people who hold you dear. Go and talk. Share yourself, especially what you feel. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable. Listen to the other person. Free yourself from judgments and giving opinions. Listen more and empathize. Just be who you are. Then see the wonders it does in deepening your relationship!"

3  "Mindfulness is being present in the moment. It is not fretting over what could have been. It's not judging ourselves for what we should be. It's allowing our thoughts as they are, observing them and checking ourselves against taped ideas."

4  "Family and relationships are fluid and flowing. We live. We learn. We are rebirthed. We grow. We retool. We relearn. As we go from one cycle to the next, it's a must to prioritize our intimate relationship with our spouse and our loving relationships with our children. To quote Anthony Brandt, 'Other things may change us, but we begin and end with the family.'"

5  "The emotional exchanges are crucial to our relationships. Sometimes, our relationships gets scarred, bitter, or estranged when we have more unpleasant emotional outburts. But why do we exhibit more emotions and become more transparent with our feelings when we got closer to someone? Because intimacy in relationships and the feelings of closeness only happen if there is a sharing of emotions. Our feelings are part of who we are. That feeling is uniquely ours. These feelings are actually part of God's great design for us."

6  "A resilient family views stress and crisis as opportunities for inner transformation and growth." 

7  "'It's not that we are busy, but what are we busy about.' Our core values will always be the center from which our life energy will flow. If we sre deadlocked in decision-making, aligning our realities snd priorities to our core values should make things clear." 

 8  "Why settle for spark when you can have fire."

9  "The best gift parents can give their children is a happy marriage. Happy parents and fulfilled married life bring about happy children and fulfilling parenting."

10 "ACCEPT. ACKNOWLEDGE. AFFIRM. They're like a magic formula for unloving the mysteries of loving relationships. It's living beyond the box. It's a conscious decision we live out each day as we express appreciation for our spouse."

11  "Moving on is a decision, not a feeling. And since it's a decision, we can sue our mind (more than our hearts) to think of how we get from point A (hopeless situation) to point B (a better state). Changing our mindset will change our patterns, habits, decisions, and emotions." 

12  "Let's forego of our 'shoulds' to see and appreciate what is in front of us. Let's allow ourselves to be free from our to-do list so we can connect with our loved ones. We need to touch them, to look at their faces, to connect not only with what we say but connect through their eyes, mind, heart and even their soul. And our nonverbal communications do not lie. Relationships will not thrive if we do not experience the other person-- in the flesh through our senses."

Alignay, M. S.(2016). Family Goals, Embracing the Imperfections of Family Life. Cubao, Quezon City: Shepherd's Voice Publications, Inc.

I recommend this book to all parents, husbands, wives, and those who are planning to get married and raise a family. I agree with what Brother Bo Sanchez said, "I'm so happy that Michele is giving us this important gift: clear, powerful, and wise guidance on how you can make your own family great." His statement sums up the magic that this book can bring to every family.

Courtesy: Michele S. Alignay  


About the Book

Wouldn't it be great to have a perfect family? But now and then we got stuck with issues and problems that make it imperfect. Sometimes it can seem like downright hell!

Our family means the world to us, but they're the same people who get on our nerves. We want to improve the situation, but the very people we want to help are part of the system that keeps us trapped.

So how on earth can we understand and embrace our far-from-perfect family? Finally, here's a book that points is where our relationships have gone wrong, what we can do to revamp them and what goals to aim for to have a perfectly imperfect family we all dream of.

This book will give you practical and wise lessons to help you confront sticky issues and conflicts that tear your family apart, increase your intimacy with your partner, apply healthy ways of coping with life's stresses, especially those that attack your family's well-being, have crucial conversations with your kids and teens on growing-up pains, sexuality and other issues on digital age, and maneuver through critical family matters that will inspire you to deliberately work to achieve your family goals so you can go from OK to great!

About the Author

Michelle S. Alignay is a registered psychologist (RP) and a registered guidance counselor (RGC). Ichel contributes her expertise on family life as a columnist in Kerygma magazine, as administrator of Bo Sanchez's Family Reborn Club, and one of the board of experts of Mommy Mundo. She is also an in-demand speaker, an author, and a part-time lecturer for graduate and undergraduate students. Above all, her favorite roles are being a wife to Koots and a mom to Migo and Maia.

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