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  • Writer's pictureHazel

The Family we Choose

Family is such a complicated word. Truly. For most people during this time, we are learning just how much of an impact our family and social conditioning has had on shaping our brains and the way we interact with the world. Honestly, I might think of making this a series on the blog considering all of the incredible content I could write on the term and its implications. Maybe I will do that. But for today, I am going to talk about the family we choose every single day and why we need to keep showing up.

Let me just start off by saying, the strength of the family is the integrity of the home. Through and through. It's true, though, that we don't necessarily get to choose the family we were born into. Nor can we control each individual member of the family. That's why a family relationship is just as much work as any other interpersonal relationship we may have. It is a conscious choice every single day to show up for the people that we choose to enmesh our emotions with. That means, but is not limited to, basking in their joy and glory but also taking on their pain as if it were our own. I won't get too much into the weeds of an enmeshed family unit in this blog post, but I'd like to make a clear distinction. This is a conscious decision on the part of the individual to willingly embark on the emotionally taxing role of support and dependancy. It is the thorough understanding that sacrificing a piece of your individuality is a noble and honorable thing to do for the overall wellbeing of the family unit. I use the term "sacrifice" because that is exactly what it is. Those with ears let them hear (iykyk).

Family is someone who shares in your values and morals. Family is someone you wouldn't mind bringing around your children. Hell, they are people you wouldn't mind raising your children. There is a lot of trust involved in the whole ordeal. I grew up being taught "What happens in the home, stays in the home." I didn't understand its significance until I got older. I can tell you now as a psychologist that the strength of the home is integral to an individual's overall mental and emotional wellbeing. If you can build a fortress within the home, you'll build it outside of the home. The "real world" is just your family on steroids.

There are emotional burdens that no one, not even your partner, can begin to understand unless they themselves were whisked away in the whirlwind of nuance. Maybe they're not supposed to. Maybe that is a right that is reserved for the people that endured it with you. Maybe that's how we separate the two. Much of it has to do with trauma bonding, albeit not the most ethereal explanation of the bond within a family, but starkly beautiful in its own right. Lest we forget that true love is that which can endure even the darkest of days, in spite of the darkest days. That is what we are choosing with our family. Basically, "I choose to go through life's darkest days with you and I know you won't love me any less if I don't". That's one hell of an unconditional bond. We are willingly choosing that vulnerability and we do so with pride and dignity.

This does not mean they have to be biological. Biology is only one way of interpreting reality, after all. It is not the whole truth. Family is he who chooses to show up time and time again. Family is he who celebrates your wins and shields the blows of your losses. We're adults now and you have the free will to choose who this applies to. I also won't talk about the importance of forgiving your biological fam if this is not the case in your immediate unit, I'll save that for another day. But for now, I just want to leave you with this one sentiment: family is a choice. Choose them every day, show up for them every day, work on it every day- for the kingdom of Heaven lies at their feet.

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