We Are Family

We are family. Get up everybody and sing – Sister Sledge.

The saying goes, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”. How true is this, but what if we used being a part of a family to our advantage instead of our disadvantage? What if family develops us into better people regardless of whether our family members are easy-going or challenging to get along with.

Family may be a complex subject for you, and I wanted to mention that I am mindful of you in what I am about to write. If a family member has deeply hurt you, I encourage you to speak to a professional or someone you trust if you haven’t already done so. You know your situation best, so I ask you, dear reader, to take what applies to you and to leave the rest.

To some, family may represent support, great memories and love. For others, family may represent heartache, dysfunction and distance. Possibly even mixed emotions about the “F” word. Family can be complex and messy as we have a bunch of individuals trying to navigate through life together.

How often have you said or heard, “it’s my life and my choices”? I have found myself on both sides of the fence. I have seen how my choices have impacted not only myself but also those who are connected to me. The same goes with the decisions others have made that I had no part in, which has impacted my life. In these moments, you learn the valuable lesson of the power of choice and how connected we are to each other, whether we like it or not.

What I am about to share has changed the way I see family. I have come to the conclusion that we can’t choose our family, but we can decide what we do with these relationships. What if our family relationships were there to teach us how to love unconditionally, learn commitment and go beyond ourselves even when it’s not convenient.

Could it be possible that the way we do family will eventually transfer in other areas of our lives like our friendships, marriage and parenthood, to name a few? In certain circumstances, this may not be an option for you as you may have needed to establish boundaries, or you are yet to do so for your safety and wellbeing. The family was intended to be a place of growth, nurture and safety. The sad reality is that it’s not always the case.

You might be saying to yourself that if only I could change my family, things would be much better. I’m sorry to break it to you, but the only person you can change is yourself, how you respond to others and how you respond to your circumstances. The world needs healthy families where individuals can thrive and be all that they are destined to be. Mother Teresa said it so beautifully “It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start”. Until next time I wish you all the best. C

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