The True Meaning of Family

family relationships Apr 14, 2022

What is family? This question can be difficult to answer, as the definition of family varies from person to person. For some, family is strictly defined as those related to you by blood. But for others, the family includes friends, coworkers, and other loved ones who may not be related to you. Ultimately, the true meaning of family is up to you to decide. Whether your family consists of a few people or many, they are important in your life and play a significant role in your happiness.

What family means

When defining the word "family," the traditional definition can mean a father and a mother and their children who live in the same house. However, the true meaning of family can extend beyond parents and their children. What one considers a family depends on the person. The following are some of the individuals one can consider as a family:

  • Blood relatives aside from your immediate families, such as grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews
  • Friends
  • Coworkers
  • Neighbors
  • People with who you spend time together in an organization or club
  • Online friends, which some you might have met in real life
  • Employees of shops or stalls that you frequently interact with
  • Pets (Yes! Even animals can be considered family)
  • Practically anybody who gives you a strong sense of belonging and love

Nowadays, defining what a family is is more open-ended. The most basic example is still that of a family consisting of a father, a mother, and children. However, other family types now exist, such as:

  • Single-parent family, where only a single parent raises the children
  • Extended family, where other relatives, such as grandparents, cousins, uncles, or aunts, also live in the same house as your immediate family
  • Blended family, where a spouse may bring in children from a previous relationship and form part of your immediate family
  • A family that consists of people not related to you by blood, such as your friends, peers, and the community that you consider yourself to belong

What can make you consider someone as a family?

To consider someone as a family, several factors come into play. First, of course, love is the essential thing that comes into mind. A person who accepts you for who you are and loves you unconditionally without expecting any immediate return is someone you can treat as a real family.

Trust is another major factor. A true family is someone you can share your secrets with without fear of spilling them to other people. True family members are people you can depend on and entrust to do something because you know what they are capable of and won't betray you.

Belongingness is another factor. They don't make you feel excluded and treat you as someone important in their lives. On the contrary, their mere presence makes you happy and gives you a reason to pursue things in life. You can treat people who provide you with such feelings as your home.

Time also dictates who you can consider as your family. It's difficult to consider someone as a family when you have just met or recently known each other, no matter how good you feel. That's why it's standard to treat your father, mother, and siblings as a family because you spend a significant portion of your life with them and get to know them better and experience positive feelings. However, the same thing can also apply to people outside your parents and siblings who you spend a significant amount of time bonding with and providing you with the same positivity. Long-time friends are a good example, and any person you bonded with for a long time, such as your teacher, mentor, coach, or your friendly neighbor or staff of the nearby store. As time passes and you experience love, trust, and belonging from someone, and you commit to doing the same to them, they are people you can consider as your family.

The importance of having someone to call a family

Life can be full of struggles and hardships, and it can be not easy to plow through them alone if you don't have at least one person in your life you can call a family. Family members provide a strong support system in times of distress, giving you physical and emotional help. You can be more confident to pursue your goals and dreams if you know someone who's got your back and will be happy with your success. It's also easier to bounce back from failures when there are people who can comfort you and push you to try better next time.

Socializing is a need for human beings. Our parents and siblings are the first people who can impart the value of socializing and forming meaningful relationships with others. How our parents raise us can influence our personality and how we treat and socialize with others. A child must get raised properly because a dysfunctional family can affect how children act and think later on in their lives. Outside the immediate family, our friends and peers can also influence how we think and act, so it's essential to pick who you can consider as family among your friends and peers. Be wary of people who don't exhibit the traits we mentioned above as to who you can consider as a family.

Family matters

If you are familiar with the Fast and Furious media franchise, you must know then of Vin Diesel's character in the movies, Dominic Toretto. One of the central themes in the movies is Dominic's emphasis on family, so much so that it gained memetic status in the online fandom (try searching "family meme Vin Diesel" on Google images). Of course, the memes are hilarious, but it stresses an important point. The Fast and Furious movies are full of action, chase scenes, and fights against criminal organizations that the protagonists may lose their lives at any moment. Dominic stresses the importance of family during such times to help them get through the difficult situations they encounter and as motivation for their actions. Also, most of the people Dominic considers as a family are not related to him by blood but are people he worked with through thick and thin.

Although our lives might not have situations as extreme as the Fast and Furious movies, we can see how important a family is to our lives. Our family can provide us with so many things to help us feel better and take action in our lives. Happiness, validation, acceptance, mutual respect, and motivation are things that our family can provide. Consider yourself blessed if you have a supportive and happy family. Unfortunately, not everyone can have somebody to call a family, and it takes time and effort to form a meaningful bond with a person to become family. So treasure the bonds you have with your family and expand your horizons on who you can consider as family.

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