Family is not an important thing. It is everything. Family raises you, helps you become the person you wish to become. It supports your dreams. Gives you a hand when you no longer carry on yourself. It lifts you up. It accepts you the way you are. It loves you with all of your flaws and imperfections. It proves to you that there is real love out there in the world, no matter how much some people like to deny it.
Family is the greatest blessing in life, there is no doubt about that. Without them, we wouldn’t be who we are today. I know that’s not the case with everyone, but that’s how I feel. Without the love and support from my loved ones, I don’t know where I would be right now. Which only makes me more grateful for everything that they’ve given me so far. Grateful for every hug they’ve shared with me, every word they’ve uttered, and every ounce of unconditional love they’ve given me so far.
But, here’s the thing. When I say family, I don’t necessarily mean, my mother, father, and siblings.
To me family is and has always been more than that.
The term family may immediately remind you of your parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins, but if you ask me, “family” has lost its connection to relatives only a long time ago. I just refuse to believe that loving someone and being there for them has anything to do with sharing the same DNA. I am sorry for sounding harsh, but that’s just how I feel.
One of the reasons is perhaps because I’ve never felt that unconditional love from some members of my family. My father, to be exact. I’ve been raised by a quite dysfunctional family. Throughout my childhood, my parents separated twice, forcing us to go back and forth for almost two years. And it all happened around my teenage years. My most fragile years, so to speak. The period when most children struggle to find themselves.
Anyhow, they eventually got back together, but deep down, I never felt what’s like to have a real family. Deep down, I never realized what a good father-daughter bond feels like.
That is exactly why my friendships have always been important to me. Not being able to rely on what people call “everything in life” or in other words, my family, led me to spend my life seeking those kinds of connections in the outer world. It motivated me to never settle for anything less than the real thing. To never stop searching for the right things in life. Pure love. Strong connection. Intense feelings. Understanding. Compassion. Loyalty. Commitment. Unconditional support.
Everything I missed in life. Everything my soul craved. Everything I was desperate to feel.
So, trust me when I say that family has nothing to do with DNA. It runs way deeper than blood.
It doesn’t really matter if someone shares the same surname as yours. It doesn’t matter if you two were born at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you spent your entire life together. What matters is how much you care for one another and what you are willing to do for each other. It is how strong they hold your hand when life gets tough and how willing they are to walk by your side when there’s nothing else to do. What matters is not how many of them will gather for Thanksgiving, but how many of them will support you and believe in you when no one else does.
Trust me, at the end of the day, the only people that really deserve to be a part of your life are those who would do anything to have you in their lives as well. Those who are always there for you, no matter what.
Hold onto those people. Hold onto them tight and be grateful for their presence in your life. You may not share the same blood, but you definitely share the same hearts.