As many of you know, my childhood was challenging. Having a parent with untreated mental illness lead us to live lives that none of our family or friends were living. There were many different addresses, schools, and people we surrounded ourselves with. Because of my childhood, I strongly believe that friends are the family you create and that family doesn't necessarily have to be blood related because blood doesn't choose your family, you do!
People choose their friends based upon mutual likes, interests and beliefs and friends respect each other and do not have the unattainable expectations that some blood family have. Friends are great for taking you as you are with no obligations. They encourage each other to maximize their potentials while also respecting each others differences. Often times, especially as we become older, I find that friends truly become family because we have more common interests with our friends than we do our blood family and that's ok!
But that's not to say that blood family isn't family, because they are. Some people have excellent relationships with their respective families and that's great but I want to speak about relationships and what family means to you!
The concept of family can be interpreted in so many different ways from the parents that gave you life, to your siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncles etc etc. It can also be defined as close friends, people in your life that inspire you to be a better person and those that generally just care about what happens to you.
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE
“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and love you no matter what.”
The original definition of "family" no longer applies today and here are some things I want you to think about when you think of your "family":
- Family has the ability to be one of the strongest relationships out there but just like anything it has to be worked on, nurtured and treated with respect.
- You shouldn’t have to feel bad or have to answer millions of questions of why you chose the family you chose versus the one that was given to you to start with.
- You don’t have to apologize for removing those who don’t treat you the way you deserve.
- Family should build you up and not tear you down. They should support you in all you do in life even if they don’t completely agree with it.
- They should be there to wipe away your tears, give advice when it is needed, not to judge too harshly when you make a mistake and love you unconditionally.
Unfortunately sometimes your relatives just can’t do that for you and that is OKAY. There is nothing wrong with you. Sometimes, we are offered the chance to pick and choose our families.
So whether you have your blood related family or the pick and choose kind...
HERE are a few ways to grow as a family:
- You Communicate with Each Other
- You Enjoy Activities Together
- Take Responsibility for What’s Yours to Do
- Encourage Healthy Development and Independence
- Value Each Family Member
- Be Kind
- Make Time for Each Other
- Practice Forgiveness