Realizing that No Family is Perfect

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Realizing that No Family is Perfect

By: Tori Glaude

I remember watching the Steve Wilkos show and one of the guests yelled out, “We are the most dysfunctional family out there.” In response, Steve Wilkos said, “That’s not an excuse. Everyone has a dysfunctional family.” Those lines made me think about the perception that another person’s family is more put together than my own. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned through dealing with my family and how it has shaped my thinking and attitude about life:

The “perfect family” is a perception.

I have found that the most hurtful relationship interactions in life can often times come from family members. For example, there was a huge drift between my sister and I during the past few years over ideological differences and opinions on the political agenda. I had to learn that it is OK that we aren’t on the same page on that particular issue and that was a big step to grow in my acceptance of my family. In fact, learning acceptance of differences can help you survive confrontations and debates with family and non-family members alike.

Many people go through disagreements with their families, and that often can put a wedge in their unity. Putting your ego aside can be one of the toughest things to do when you feel that you’re right and someone else is wrong because they disagree with your sentiments. Once you come to terms with the fact that no one is perfect, the realization that your family isn’t perfect will be a more digestible to accept.

Losing people never gets easier, but you learn to live a fuller life.

By the time I was 17, I had lost two brothers, both sets of grandparents, a dog that I had for 17 years (my whole life at the time), and I had an estranged relationship with my remaining siblings. I quickly had to get used to the idea of people not staying in my life before I became an adult.

Although I’ve experienced many tragedies with losing loved ones early in life, I can honestly say it encouraged me to implement gratitude within my life. To wake up every day is honestly one of the biggest blessings. With time, grieving may lessen but I can’t promise that the pain from your loss will get easier. I will always miss my loved ones and keep them close to my heart. I’ve learned that you must also carry out the goals you were set to accomplish. Living your life to the fullest shouldn’t be a thought, but rather, a reality.

Family can come in different forms.

Your support system can also be considered to be your family. Not everyone experiences support from the family that they grew up around. The people who challenge you to grow, support, uplift, and correct you can be considered family. Your prayer group, besties, neighbors, or mutual connections within an online community can be recognized as family.

In fact, the meaningful connections among readers and contributors alike is what I love about Twenty Somethin and Black. This community is one of the groups with which I feel a strong sense of kinship. The positive reciprocity of a sisterhood that I always wanted is just a text away when I’m talking with them. Embrace those who you consider your family and work to continually strengthen that bond as it will help you get through the best and toughest times.

Here are a few things to remember:

-        Your family can be the toughest on you, by showing tough love in many ways. Don’t take honesty for granted when someone wants to keep it real with you accept it and grow from it.

-        Your family serves as the template of how you can choose to live your life. You can either choose to raise a family in the same way that you were brought up or you can choose to differentiate the terms of existence for the family you create.

-        Your family, in many ways, can be a symbol of your past and present. It is important to learn from them and not dwell too much on the negative ties that may be present with some members. You may have tried to mend relationships but ultimately outgrown certain people in your family, and that’s OK. Dare to find your tribe and build a sisterhood that you can trust. Perfection is just an illusion!

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