You’ve probably heard the phrase “family is everything.” Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. But stop and think. As DH said to a friend, “Are you on automatic pilot when you say this?”
The idea that “family is everything” is a common North American cultural fiction. “Family is everything” may sell Hallmark cards and wall plaques but it doesn’t reflect reality.
Most of us can think of at least one person, from our family of origin or even adult children, who has NOT treated us even remotely the way family members should treat each other. In this case family is most definitely not everything. Relationships with people who treat us badly should be minimized or even better, eliminated – genetic linkage not withstanding.
Conversely, you probably have someone in your life who has been very kind to you but isn’t directly (and who decides what constitutes “directly”?) genetically linked to you. Foster and work to maintain these kinds of relationships.
The truth is that if you go back far enough, everyone is family. We are all part of the human family. All are family. So categorizing people genetically is completely arbitrary.
Therefore, “family” really means anyone who cares for us, supports us, stands with us and is trustworthy. Likewise, we offer care, support and are trustworthy with them too.
Reassess. If “family is everything” then we must ask, “Who do we consider family?”