by Dr. Nikki Starr Noce, MD: How is your relationship with your family?
Before we chose to incarnate this lifetime, we choose our family. We choose certain experiences to provide us with opportunities for growth. Family is one of our greatest teachers this lifetime because we are stuck with them for our entire life. Sure, you can choose to stop speaking to family, but ultimately they share the same DNA. No matter what, you are tied to your family. Are you paying attention to the lessons they are teaching you?
For me, spending time with family is always a gauge as to how much I’ve grown. As much as I love my family, they know exactly what buttons to press to get me going. No matter the discipline of a daily spiritual practice with yoga, meditation, and so on, the true testament of transcending self-limiting patterns is when I spend time with my family. Especially because I live away from family, there is a tendency for them to see me as “the old Nikki” not the new and improved version, which can be quite triggering. Does this sound familiar?
For the majority of us, if we were really in a bind, we could call on someone in the family. Despite the interpersonal challenges that exist, unconditional love resides in family. Family may not always agree with our life choices, and may even say hurtful things because they don’t always understand the life we have chosen, but deep down in their hearts there is a precious love that exists for family that is shared amongst the clan.
As we experience this life we will begin to gather our chosen family too. Our chosen family consists of friends and soul kin—people who are on the same life path as us. They facilitate in our evolution this lifetime too. We may even spend more time with our chosen family than our blood family. Even so, our blood family will be one of our greatest teachers—a test each time we are in their presence.
Just last weekend I flew to NYC to see family for my sister’s bridal shower. I always love seeing my family, and I am always curious as to what dynamics will be present. As I’ve evolved, so have my relationships with them. Since appearing on Utopia, there is a difference in our experience with one another. It’s as if they finally see who I am. Observing me from afar while I was on the show allowed them to break the mold of previous perceptions about me and truly see who I am today. They once knew me as the type A, nagging until I-get-what-I-want-medical doctor, to the easy going Nikki whose focus is for the betterment of society. Or so I thought…
We were all shopping in the mall for an outfit for my sister’s bridal shower and every time one of my aunts suggested an outfit for me, I’d reply, “Ask Toni” (my sister). My aunt was in shock that I was giving all this power away to my sister, because in the past I would have had a BIG opinion about what I was wearing. But this isn’t my reality anymore—ultimately I don’t really care what I wear. I care about my sister enjoying her day to the fullest. It was nice to feel myself transcend, letting go of a need for control and releasing external appearances.
Another situation while I was with my family actually affected me. I was hanging out with my mother and my aunts, and my mother alluded to the fact that I was a nag. I did become triggered and felt the need to justify that that’s not who I am anymore. I even went on to tell her that I barely even call her once a week, which was hurtful to her.
I could feel myself getting angry because I was hurt by her accusations. I’ve worked hard to cleanse that part of myself, to release the parts of me that haven’t been serving (nagging behavior being one of these things). Because I was triggered, there is obviously more work for me to do around what other people perceive of me because ultimately that’s the root of the hurt.
When we defend, it’s because we care what others think about us. Sure it’s natural to care what others think, but when it limits our experience in any way, we may want to reflect on this and ask ourselves why?
Another lesson revealed to me in this experience is that I must work on staying open when I’m feeling hurt and ask questions instead of defending myself in a way that could hurt the other person.
Yes, I’m human too and I will continue my self-practice and reflect on my mistakes. Life is not a game of tit for tat. I can choose to be the “bigger person,” the compassionate one, regardless of the person I’m disagreeing with or what is transpiring. I’ll forever be a student as long as I’m alive. I’m committed to a loving, healing journey on this planet.
How is your experience with your family? I invite you to check in the next time you are with them. What are the things that annoy you and set you off when you’re with them? Observe where you used to engage in disagreements and now your reactions are different because you’ve learned and transcended these aspects of yourself.
When we shift our perception of the time we spend with family to it being a growing opportunity, a classroom for our spirit, feelings, emotions, and reactions, it becomes quite fun. We learn a lot about ourselves, which only improves the dynamic in all of our relationships this lifetime. Namaste.