Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting Rid of SECONDHAND SMOKE At Your House

Maybe you smoke, maybe you don't. But if you're a non-smoker then you likely don't appreciate having to breathe the billows from another person's cigarette.  A funny remark a few years ago went something like this, "I'll breathe your smoke if you'll chew my gum."

However, this post isn't about real smoke. We can debate that issue another time. But people in homes everywhere have breathed in a lot of secondhand smoke, potentially damaging emotional fumes so to speak, from the relationships they've had and lived through. They've been forced to inhale other people's pain, dysfunction, bad choices and character flaws so that it has become hard to live smoke-free anymore.

As adults they continue to own the guilt of what others do or to try to fix the people closest to them. They also often have a hard time setting boundaries and let other people regularly invade their space and force them to take responsibility that never belonged to them in the first place.

Now unless we live alone we will send some secondhand smoke to our spouses and kids.  We can't help it. We're not perfect. They'll pick up some of our habits, flaws, immaturity and unhealthy ways of relating.  However, we don't have to blow emotional rings in their faces.  How?

First, we can keep working on ourselves being honest about our weaknesses and struggles. When those we love see us being authentic and doing healthy things to grow they'll learn to do the same.

Second, we must ask others to be a mirror for us. It's healthy to let others help monitor our weaknesses and those times when we exhale in front of others in ways that are inappropriate or damaging.

Third, we can be intentional about not asking others to take on our pain.  Others can share it but we can't ask or demand that they own it. A well-meaning widow has done this when she asks her teenage son to now be the man of the house after his dad dies. Parents who divorce often send the message to their kids that they too must feel all the same hurt and disappointment. Roommates can demand that their friend absorb all the angst they feel because of hurts from their past.

So, what smoke are you blowing towards those you love?  Some issues need to be smoked outside. Some things you need to handle on your own and with God's help. Take some healthy steps to clear the air in your home and everyone will be healthier in the long run.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this article, I think we all need this challenge