The world of relationships and family dynamics that we live in now looks quite a bit different than it did 30, 50, or 100 years ago, but for some reason, we still feel compelled to point out these differences. There are blended, adoptive, same-sex, single-parent, non-married parent households and more. Many of these families contain siblings who have different parents which makes them by scientific standards “half” siblings. But, who cares?
Yes, we know that technically these children are “half” related by blood but so much more of their relationship is “whole.” Frankly, I think this is one of the most beautiful things about family and about being human. We can choose to love one another wholly despite science.
I have a friend who is 15 years older than her “half” sibling but that has never mattered. They may have different biological fathers but they still treat each other like whole siblings. They still love each other with whole hearts. When someone refers to them as “half” related, it hits them hard. It can especially hit a young child who doesn’t understand why someone would say something like this almost like a punch in the gut. It might feel harmless if you aren’t the one on the receiving end, but it is not. Why do we have to keep reminding these people of their differences? Why does it matter? It doesn’t.
That is the wonderful thing about family. It is often composed of so much more than a blood relationship. It is a bond. A love. It can be so strong sometimes even for the people who have no blood relations at all. Your family is what you make it.
Leave the genetic results for the doctor’s office. Leave it in the places where it is necessary for health reasons. Let us stop voicing it in ways that it can be hurtful, harmful to others. It is unnecessary and does no one any good at all.
I came across an article in The Washington Post the other day about the first sisters to become generals in the U.S. Army. The article made me feel proud to be a woman in this day and age and happy to see women putting themselves out there and going for these high-level military positions.
Anyone who is familiar with the military and the news knows that being a woman in the military is not an easy thing. Sexual assault reports for women in the military rose 38 percent last year.
Just 16 percent of the military’s 1.3 million active-duty personnel are women, according to the article. Faced with steep competition from their male counterparts, it is no wonder that many of these women fill low ranking positions.
Becoming a general is something that required a whole lot of hard work, according to these sisters. And, for that I commend them. They didn’t give up. They worked hard and earned these positions.
There is no question that as a nation we still have quite a bit of work to do in terms of gender equality. But, the best way to break down barriers and to shrink the gap is to keep trying. The more we stand up for ourselves, do what we believe in, fight for those positions we want (and deserve), then, the more we can continue to make headway in this constant struggle.
These women show us that any woman can accomplish her dreams if she puts her mind to it. We are strong. Whether it be becoming a football player or an Army general, women can fill the same roles as men. Women really can do anything. So, I thank these women for setting this example for others and for following their hearts.
The phone is always with us. It is not uncommon for people to work into the wee hours of the night or long into the weekend. We never “turn off.” We are always on the move, always looking for the next big thing, always hustling along. It is the way many of us live. We think it is helping us to be successful, but what is it doing to our mental health?
This go, go, go mentality is leading to burnout. We are exhausted. We are overworked. We are losing sight of what really matters. Life is short and we are missing it. We are so immersed in our to-do lists that we are blind to all the beauty around us.
It has become a social badge of honor to never stop working. It is seen as a good thing. People are proud that they haven’t gone on vacation in years and work 60-plus hours a week—way more than necessary—because it is seen as a pathway to success. But how successful can we be if we never sleep? Or reset?
We all need a change of scenery every once in a while. We need to give our brains a mental vacation in order to function at top levels. It is ok to say “no” to the extra things on our plates and instead take a nap. It is ok to go home early and surprise your kids with an ice cream date. It is ok to turn the phone off and lock it away for a few hours.
We need to remember that we are human beings that need self-care. The constant hustle is not sustainable. We weren’t built to never stop.
The more overworked and exhausted we are the harder it is for us to process emotions and to think clearly, leading to increases in depression and anxiety. University of California San Francisco Clinical Professor Dr. Michael Freeman conducted a study of 242 entrepreneurs. What he found was concerning. He discovered that 72 % of those studied had mental health concerns, including depression, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, anxiety, and bipolar diagnoses.
The struggle is real. Success should be part of a three-dimensional life full of rest, family, friends, and love, it shouldn’t be all about the grind all the time.