The subject of ‘family’ can be an uncomfortable one for many and, in fact, I include myself in that.
I have plenty of ‘family’ situations that have taken up far too much headspace for too long and they’ve made me feel a whole load of emotions from frustration to sadness, anger to relief. It’s always left me feeling a little lost that ‘family’ are meant to be the people you lean on most when things are tough, but all I seemed to feel was lost and abandoned.
So, I decided to change the narrative in my life and choose the family I needed and wanted.
Let me clarify from my head to your ears my rationale and language.
I have chosen my family, the people I trust, who raise me up, support me, pick me up when I’m broken and don’t judge me. They listen, support, hold me accountable and give me a safe space to be me. I have hand selected them because they fit in my life, love me unconditionally and also make me feel full of love and laugh a lot! My family are awesome.
The family I was born into I refer to as my ‘relatives’ – I love some of them but as a collective they are not my safe place, my support or my go to when things are bad… but my chosen family are.
Whilst this has been my situation for a long time, I’ve often felt at unrest with it. Feelings that I’m being judged or misunderstood by those with close knit families they were fortunate to have from birth, feeling of frustration and anger that I should have had the support of those that were blood relatives and numerous more reasons for a whole cauldron full of emotions.
Why am I writing about this now? Because I have let go of those negative feelings and I know I’m not the only one who has had to let go emotions and issues around the ideal of ‘family’. I have spoken to numerous couples who feel let down or misunderstood or just like they don’t fit in their family dynamic and after conversations, each of these people come to a brave and uplifting thought that they deserve to be supported, loved and looked after and they can select the people around them to be there for them in the way that they need, when they need them.
We all have the power to create our own families. Whether they are related or not, from birth or newly found, we all have somewhere to call ‘home’ with the people we love and want to be there at our best and toughest of times.
I’ve just finished binge watching ‘Pose’ on BBC iplayer – what an awesome show that is and well worth a watch – I cried, laughed, sang and more. It reveals so much about family; about how we can all have the family we need and at the end of one of the episodes was a quote from Hector Xtravaganza that simply resonated, and I will hold on to forever. “Blood does not family make. Those are relatives. Family are those with whom you share your good, bad and ugly and still love one another in the end. Those are the ones you select.”
Family is for all of us, in all their glorious ways and forms. I so hope you have yours around you and if you feel out of place, find the people you resonate with who will be there for you unconditionally and you will be there for them in the same way – they are your family and they are all around you cheering you on, lifting you up and loving you.
To read more about how you can avoid, overcome and handle family pressures, pick up a copy of our book Weddings on the Mind: Putting wellbeing into weddings, where there is a whole chapter dedicated to supporting you.
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Weddings on the Mind: Putting wellbeing into weddings
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