Family. The standard definition maintains that our family are the people with whom we share ancestry. But, as we grow older, the definition of family seems wanting. Without proper guidance and relationship maintenance (which must come predominantly from the elder relatives) we can stay in relationships that might not be beneficial to us purely because we share ancestry.
There are people who have close, supportive, healthy relationships with all of their family members. These relationships are to be cherished, but most of us have at least one family member who, perhaps, isn’t loving or supportive.
Last year we had the pleasure of meeting with artist and educator Dee Manning, who explained that family is not what you are born into. Instead, your true family are the people who love you unconditionally, who you reciprocate love for, treat you the way you deserve to be treated, and respect you. Your family are your supporters, and your ultimate friends but this doesn’t mean that they will always tell you things you want to hear, and it does not mean that they are without fault; no-one is perfect.
But, redefining what family means is important because it sets the standard for what we feel is acceptable in our relationships. And, by redefining what family is, we empower ourselves to have happier relationships. In the gif above, RuPaul says that “We, as gay people, we get to choose our family. You know, we get to choose the people that we’re around”, and that choice is available to everyone. You have the right to be loved, accepted and supported. Own that right.
Thank you so much for reading social skills 101: redefining family! Check out our post on why brutal honesty isn’t really honesty.