Today many people think that one is freer -and happier- to the extent that one remains free of ties. That bonds with others are ties that limit and, in the long run, imprison. It is not by chance that we think this way.
The prevailing liberalism in the West has introduced us into increasingly individualistic and self-referential lifestyles.
Personal relationships, from this point of view, become an instrument to achieve our goals, or a burden that prevents us from doing what we want to do. This generates what Bauman has described as the "liquid condition" of the new generations: "loose" individuals, without roots in the past, with a volatile identity and little projection towards the future.
This poverty of ties leads to loneliness. This is why the recently created "ministries of loneliness" are not the brainchild of original governments, but an attempt to respond to an increasingly widespread problem.
Relationships are there to unite, not to bind. Human relationships are in themselves a richness, because they allow us to go out of ourselves and receive from others. If this happens in a context of unconditional love, such as the family, the good is incalculable. That is why the greatest treasure for each person should be "his or her own".
The Italian neuropsychiatrist Mariolina Ceriotti, whom I have quoted on other occasions, affirms that the problem is not the bonds, but rather the lack of the right balance between them. For a relationship to work, it is very important to occupy the right position in the family, to respect each other's limits and to maintain the right distance in the relationship with other people. Often, many personal and family crises have to do with the failure of any of these aspects.
Today, more than ever, it is important to take care of our personal ties, especially those of family and friendship. Cultivate them like the plant we cherish the most. Summer offers us a privileged time to do so.
Time-sharing tests the necessary balance of bonds: it can be a time of separation or a time of increased bonding.
My proposal can be no other: it should be a time to assume that family relationships are a priority; a time to take advantage of shared space to get to know each other better; to make those around us feel special; to share tasks and responsibilities; to encourage creative entertainment and limit the merely passive.
To enjoy, in short, family life for what it is: a true gift for everyone.