We are always told to put family on a pedestal because “blood is thicker than water”. I happen to disagree with this statement. This statement is what encourages many people to feel obligated to stay in unhealthy relationships and maintain these relationships for the sake of family. Instead, I believe family does not have to be blood. I define family as the people who love you, treat you with respect, make you feel safe, encourage you, and allow you to be your authentic self.
At times, the family can say/do hurtful things. However, other people in our life may be able to take on a positive role in our lives. For example, this could be a close friend, colleague, church member, neighbor, friend's parent, etc., I want to encourage you to work through the struggles and grieve what you may have wanted the relationship to be and focus on the positive relationships you have.
Ways to nurture those positive connections
- Accept invitations when invited.
- Invite them over for gatherings.
- Communicate with them regularly (phone, text, in person)
- Accept their help.
- Accept their love and support.
- Attend therapy to help you work through your challenges and to accept your positive connections.
- Journal about your feelings.
Shareela Allen, LCSW