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.
The Meaning of Life 
Events and Classes
Stories and Essays
Daddy's Girls
Chapter One
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ForeWord Magazine's
Book of the Year Award
Gold Medal Winner for Fiction
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Paperback ISBN#  0-7388-3657-5
Hardback ISBN#  0-7388-3658-3
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Suzanne Gold  holds a 
Credential of Ministry from the
Universal Life Church. She is 
available for spiritual counseling
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T  E  N     W  A  Y  S     T  O     M  A  K  E     P  E  A  C  E
W  I  T  H      T  H  E     P  A  S  T     A N D 
C  R  E  A  T  E     A     N  E  W     F  U  T  U  R  E
  Everyone comes into life with a purpose. You are part of the universal creative energy. You didn't come here to prove your worth or to find a problem and fix it. You came to express your talents and abilities, to realize your dreams. You are a unique expression of the universal life force that has crystallized into your physical form to reflect your spirit's 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. The circumstances of your life are signs as to what your purpose is. 
   No matter what comes, 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 let go of dysfunctional patterns and find the faith in yourself that will support you in building a life you love. 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:

   Following your heart

   This new course is first an internal one, which paves the way for the external changes. What happens in your life is largely up to you. If you're not satisfied with your life as it is, start by imagining how it can get better. Make it a priority to figure out how to create what you want. Do what uplifts you. Let yourself feel excited about your possibilities. Take time every day to think about how you'd like your life to be. What you dedicate yourself to, you can create. 

    Opening to inner wisdom

   Listen for that still small voice inside. Within you is a guidance system that communicates through your ideas and emotions. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Have good intentions. Rely on your own sense of what's right. Stand your ground. Believe in yourself in the face of criticism. Integrity is doing what you think is best in each moment.

    Improving your attitude

    How things appear is affected by how you look at them. Search for the positive. Negative interpretations dull your energy and ability to cope. Spirit underlies everything, regardless of whether you interpret something as good or bad. You already have inside you the resources for building a good life. You just have to learn how to use them. 

    Getting 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 the stuck places in your heart and mind. Bring spirit into the process by inviting metaphysical help in any form that works for you. 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.

    Communicating effectively 

  Be kind. Tell the truth. Say good things. Be aware of your effect on others. Make things right. Know when to shut up or decline to answer. Don't interrupt. Choose your battles. Allow different points of view. Watch what you listen to. Don't brag, one-up, pretend you're something you're not, or congratulate yourself too much. Don't think of yourself as better than most. Don't give advice unless you're asked. Don't gossip. Don't assume you're being understood-- check it out.

    Setting your own standards

   Life isn't 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 stepping-stone to a better situation.

   Taking responsibility

    Relationships are like jigsaw puzzles. All the pieces fit together to create the whole. You are not responsible for anyone else, nor are they for you. You're not required to betray yourself for anyone else's sake, so there's no guilt, no blame, no shame. Holding a grudge drains your energy. If someone hurts you, look for what you can learn from it. You may never forget, but letting go of resentment is healing. This goes double for forgiving yourself.

    Nurturing yourself 

   Make time to have fun and enjoy life. Laugh. Believe in your dreams. Celebrate your successes, big and small. Take walks in nature. Spend time alone. 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 light shining through you, easing your emotional and physical pain. Even ten minutes a day can make a difference.

    Seeing beyond your blind spots

   It helps to talk about your feelings, no matter how embarrassing, strange or awful they 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. Don't expect The Answer, but serve yourself a smorgasbord of possibilities to take or leave as you like.  Explore what makes sense to you. Don't follow advice blindly. Examine both sides of any issue.

      Living fully 

   Respect your own boundaries. Your first commitment should be to yourself. 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, and be honorable. Intend the best for everyone, especially yourself. You have no control over what anyone else feels or thinks, no matter how much you care, or how badly you think they need it. 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 relationships fade if they don'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.


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