Myth #1: Family comes first. Family is Everything.
Have you heard of the term Blood runs thicker than water? It means that, in general, family counts more than friends. It’s more important than anyone else. Which I find is an odd way to define affection, affinity and love. Who made that rule?
Love is love, and whoever you feel connected to, whomever you love is part of your family. There shouldn’t be a scale of who deserves our love more than others. Or who should love us the most? Yet, we do have that scale.
Don’t we all believe that our parents should love us, no matter what, and of course, more than all the people in the world? Well, no. Anyone could be family, a parent, a mentor and could mean the world to you, and that I think is a good thing. It gives anyone lonely and disconnected from their blood family a chance to still belong. And most of us want to belong beyond blood ties.
Sometimes water is all we have and that’s enough.Have heard of turning water into wine? Why not into blood…
Myth #2: Family will always stand by your side, no matter what. I think the way many American television series portrait family and how it functions or dysfunctions is rather misleading. Quirky characters, always making fun of one another, but they’re by your side in any kind of trouble… Too simple, too one-dimensional, if you ask me.
While I think that there are families, or parts of them, that love and hold one another dear, supporting each other through good and bad times, many, including myself, can only dream of such a support network. A family that holds together no matter what. Wouldn’t it be nice if the group, the people we’re born into, make us indeed an important part of their lives, put us equal on the scale of needs (I don’t even talk about putting us first), and invest in us time, care, and thoughts? These families exist. Somewhere, but I find them rarer than most believe.
Still, we get programmed. We need family to be whole, to get support and feel loved and worthy, and to have a place here on the planet, however, as adults, more even as young adults and kids, it makes us vulnerable to disappointment and hurt. If we do not have such a family but want it. Want it badly, because that’s all that matters: family. I believe that is incorrect.
Love is all that matters.
Of course, I am not talking about babies/young children at the moment. They have no choice and need family and care, so they can’t just pack their stuff and leave because their family comes short. Still, the world is not fair or just, and even babies and kids do get hurt by the closest people. Especially them. Countless people of all ages have not only been deeply disappointed by the disloyalty of parents or family members, but also had to leave them behind to save their skin, to stay emotionally sane. I was one of them.
For us to put these families first, or to have them stand by our side (as if) would be a nightmare, or at least unhealthy. It was usually strangers who helped me, friends who held my hand when sad or mentors who made me saw my next step. Not family.
Myth #3: Family can’t be replaced. Well, then many of us would be indeed screwed, eh? However, we all have heard of orphans, adopted kids and people who have been taken in by others. While not all of these stories have a happy ending, many do.
Family can express itself in so many different ways: a sisterhood of friends, any group of misfits, bound together by a project like the exaggerated version of movie franchise Fast & Furious (ah well, now I used an American movie series to make my point, how about that?), or a connection between two people living at the opposite of the planet. Whatever the constellation, the quality of connection, the space of affection and love shared is what counts and what needs to be looked at as family, too.
Then people marry or create a family of their own, to create new blood ties, a new group to belong to. That is kind of a replacement for some, an expansion of family for others. It all depends on our relationship with our childhood family in the first place.
If there is family trouble, it can sometimes be worked out, and sometimes it can’t. It’s that simple. Family is just like all the other people we share the planet with. If it can’t be worked out, one has to evaluate how important being understood and being seen by them is, how important it is to be right or to feel truly connected.
And if you see yourself at crossroads, like you have to give up your blood ties or distance yourself to stay true to yourself? Do not fret, there are plenty out there that had to do the same and still live and love and are connected – just to someone else. There are 7 Billion of us. We could be your family.