After another intense year of the pandemic, it’s become even more important for me to reflect on how the year went, what I learned, how I grew, and what I’m looking forward to in the year to come. I always like to start with what I’m grateful for, and one of my biggest points of gratitude is for my family! Family is SO important. Having positive relationships is one of the most important things in my life and my family is definitely the biggest contributor to that.
We don’t always get to choose our families, although we do get to choose who we start a family with if we’re lucky enough to do so. While it’s true that family ties can come and go, the foundational worth of a solid family unit is a wonderful thing to have and preserve.
Family can look many different ways and can mean different things, especially from culture to culture. Family does not always mean ‘blood ties’. After all, sometimes friends become honorary family members too! If your particular family doesn’t really fit into the standard definition of how we think of the nuclear family, that doesn’t make yours any less worthwhile or meaningful!
Also, while some people aren’t currently fortunate to enjoy close relations with family, there’s no reason why this has to be permanent. Appreciating the positive family members in our life when they’re here, or when they come to us, is so important. It’s crucial not to take that for granted. In this post, I’ll discuss how and why that is.
You Can Support Family
Being there for your family and leaning on them when appropriate is very important, allowing us to get through the harsh difficulties of life with dignity, and the ability to feel supported throughout.
It’s important to make sure that you and your loved ones know the value of being there for one another. It can be helpful to schedule family meetings should you need them, to defer authority among your own siblings when dealing with a new familial reality, or to discuss your life decisions with your family and get their appropriate advice. Lead with love in every situation, and even through the hard times, your support for one another will allow you all to make it through.
You Can Learn From Family
It’s good to learn from those we love and respect, especially because more often than not, the advice will have a degree of candor that we may not be able to get anywhere else. Elderly relatives, for instance, almost always have stories to tell and lessons to be learned.
Families are typically pretty diverse in terms of the personality, general life experience and gender of each member, meaning that you can engage with a kind of person that you may not in your daily life. For instance, keeping in close touch with your younger cousin can help anyone who wouldn’t otherwise keep the company of children or teenagers learn about their generation, what makes them laugh, and what they enjoy doing or learning about. This can be enjoyable and maybe even inspiring!
Also, in some cases, you can easily see how different lives pan out, be that an uncle who never had children, or a grandparent getting remarried. Being in proximity to all different situations can give you a taste for how others live their life, which can be extremely informative to how you make decisions for your own.
You Can Be Weak In Front Of Family
Family are those you can be weak in front of and ask for help from. Sometimes, we need people like this in our lives. It’s very easy to think that we should be upright, responsible and always there for everyone around us, but sometimes we can’t be.
We all make mistakes, and while it’s important not to take them for granted, it’s important to feel as though you can ask family members for aid when necessary. This might involve emotional support in times of difficulty, to help pick you up if your car breaks down, or to help if you suffer the loss of a loved one.
Provided you reciprocate this support to your family members when you’re in a better place and when they need you, there’s no need to worry. In fact, in many cases, people really do wish to help, no matter what. It may not always be easy to do so, but if you remind yourself that this is what family is for, it’ll get easier with time and practice.
You Can Honor Family
It’s easy to see how deep love can run when it comes to the most important things in life. For example, when there’s moments of celebration such as a graduation, marriage, or new baby, but also when life comes to an end.
As family members, it’s up to us to memorialize those who leave us, despite how hard that can be. Paying respect to their memory and never forgetting them can be a wonderful thing, as it goes to show that despite the difficulties of life, our love will always be there. A few ways to memorialize a family member would be investing in ceramic photos for cemetery headstones, passing down their keepsakes, fulfilling their last wishes and making sure their estate is handled with respect.
It’s nice to know that someone will be there to do that for us too. Sometimes, family can mean much more than just managing the day to day, but providing the most profound care at a time when it matters most.
You Can Be Present For Family
Going through life can be tough and full of twists and turns. The one thing that makes this process much less difficult to deal with is sharing our lives with those we love. No matter if this is a friend that has become a family member to you in spirit, to help your grandparents see their grandchildren grow up, or to look to the future with a sibling and go through life always supporting one another, these are the connections we value the most over time.
No matter the type of family you have or may have one day, it’s important to be grateful for them and love them boldly while they’re still with you. I hope this mindset can be as useful to you as it is to me for the new year!