As the holidays approach, you may be preparing yourself to gather with family members you don’t usually spend time visiting. You may even feel that you are choosing to meet more from a sense of obligation than celebration. But when we trust that the universe always places us exactly where we need to be, we know that we have been placed in our families for some higher purpose. Your spirit may have chosen that particular group of souls to help you learn certain lessons, or to give you the experiences necessary to overcome specific challenges. And when we feel we’ve moved away from situations that don’t resemble us or the life we choose to live, it can seem frustrating to put ourselves back into an old scenario. But even a sense of obligation is a sign that you are still connected to the energy of your family, and for that alone it is worth investing yourself into making the most of any gathering. Once surrounded by people from your past, you may find that you are feeling challenged by a sort of identity crisis. There is likely to be a gap between the person you know yourself to be now and how you are seen by those who knew you before. But you can call upon your inner strength to stand in your truth and simply be who you are without needing their approval or heeding any criticism. Then, you can offer them the gift you’d like to receive when you also allow them to be themselves. Being in situations that we might not choose for ourselves allows us to see ourselves in a new light. The contrast helps us to see our own strengths and weaknesses, and to learn to accept others for theirs. Part of the magic of family is the way in which it bonds diverse people together, allowing them to function as a complete unit. Who we are today has been built upon our past. If nothing else, rejoining with the family and friends who knew us in our earlier days allows us to recall where we came from so that we can appreciate all that we’ve been given.