There are two types of families; the families we are born into, and the families we find along the way.
You often hear a successful sports team or business refer to themselves as a family. When we are young, we refer to close family friends as Auntie or Uncle, or even Grandma, and we refer to our closest friends as Brother or Sister.
The biggest difference between the two is that we are part of the family we are born into for life, whether or not we want to be. The other families we choose to be a part of because they are a part of our life.
Either way, we want to be part of a family for love, support, comfort and companionship. We want to be with people we like and have something in common with. We want to belong.
But families aren’t perfect. Whether we’re born into them or choose them, they typically only relate to a part of our lives. As a result, most people are part of numerous families, based on their different interests.
One of the problems we have with our families is that we expect things from them that are not part of what brings us together. We have expectations of family members, based on our own needs, that they don’t share, whether it’s political, financial, emotional, or just going to lunch at our favorite restaurant.
Over time, when our expectations aren’t met, we start to become unhappy, which leads to arguments, separations, and even hostility.
But the problem isn’t with our family – they do what they are going to do. The real issue is with our expectations. We expect people to do things for us because they are part of our family, but they don’t necessarily view that as part of their family obligation.
Families are wonderful things and belonging to a family is a basic human need. But we don’t all see families the same way and can’t expect everyone in our family to think and react the way we would.
Families share some aspect of our lives. No one family is going to meet all your needs or share all your interests. A work group, sports team, social group, church, or even a good friendship only relates to a part of your life. Enjoy that part with that family. Don’t expect them to be a part of, or even to support the other parts of your life.
Look for the things that you share with other members of your family. Share the things that are important to you to see if they feel the same way. If they don’t, that’s okay. Save them for a family that does appreciates them. If you don’t have one, look for one.
Make your family time a happy time, a time of belonging, and understand that the other members of each family don’t need to see the world the same way you do for you to enjoy the things you have in common with them.