Edna Buchanan offers great insight into the special relationship between two close, unrelated human beings: “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” In general, society applies many stereotypes related to family and familial bond: always listen to your parents, put family first, blood is thicker than water, ad infinitum. However, many of these stereotypes take for granted that all human beings have good parents, and good families.
Yet, when you consider the fact that there are millions of criminals in the world, and far more individuals who are simply negative and unproductive without committing crimes—it should come as no surprise that not all family members are good, and not all families are healthy to be a part of period. Really, what people need is other people in their lives who they know they can count on and rely on. Relationships themselves are what matter the most—not the physical characteristics of the people you have them with.
Many people feel as though it is their duty as a human being to act like a happy family member, and to act like they are part of an ideal family and life. However, living through tense interactions and relationships just for the sake of being—or appearing to be—a “family,” is never worth keeping dreams like these alive for (or lies like these alive for). It’s also important to note that many times people do not realize the full negative impact that pretending to be happy with family can have; sometimes experiencing truly happy feelings and emotions isn’t possible until you are removed from negative circumstances for an extended period of time.
This isn’t to suggest that everyone should immediately start breaking with family and family members and start filling these vacancies with new friends; rather, it is to suggest that there’s no need to continue trying to make a negative situation positive for years or decades—or to continue to pretend that a negative situation is positive for years or decades. It’s usually difficult to give up on the idea of living a perfect life with a perfect family (with a golden retriever and a white-picket fence), but it’s helpful to think of it as beginning to hope for a perfect life in which you’re happy and at peace regardless of how many stereotypes you have or haven’t lived up to.
Again, it goes without saying that all of this will usually be much more difficult than it probably seems to be on paper. Yet, the most worthwhile things in life are never easy, and sometimes the only way to find genuine happiness and peace is to move on and move forward regardless of the situation or people you leave behind. But the bottom line is that all honorable human beings deserve to be surrounded by people who truly care for them, and who truly enhance their enjoyment of life. Never feel guilty for living the life you deserve.
Image: Woman in field image, Shutterstock
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.