It is Thanksgiving time with our neighbour in the United States and we are quickly rolling into the Christmas Season with all that entails. Here is an article that speaks to the side of families that are not shown in the holiday shows. The idea of having to build a new family when ours doesn't fill the need or has shunned us entirely.
So many of the people I talk to struggle with the idea of family. In most cases, their family is beyond their reach because of religious barriers placed between them and all that is felt is the loss and the void left behind. Even in families where religion has not built walls, there are divides that seem so vast that bridging it seems impossible.
At any time of the year where there is a buzz in the air to gather with family, there are so many that are immobilized by their pain and isolation. This pain is real and is classified as more devastating than the death of someone because the of the hope and possibility that the person may change their mind and want to connect.
What I have noticed is that these very same individuals have gathered around them a network of people that have become even closer than the blood relations that so many long for. Family doesn’t have to be blood relations. Family can be those we choose to have in our lives.
If this is your situation, I invite you to look around you. Count the friends that you have connected with over the years.
What do you appreciate about each one of them?
What is it that their friendship with you that nourishes you?
What need is met that was left unattended when your family no longer provided it? Or what need is met that your blood family just doesn’t possess to provide you?
I am asking these questions of you because what you may be seeking may already be around you in your circle of friends. Now I know that for many, friends will not wholly replace the relative they are missing. Chosen family through our friends can support us with elements that we crave and provide even more than we ever expected. Things like connection, loyalty, understanding, affection, trust, an empathetic ear, companionship, and so much more.
One suggestion in my Reclaim Your Power – Shunning Recovery course is to build and maintain friendships to fill the needs that are being neglected when shunned by close family members. So many have already built friendships yet have not fully grasped how beneficial this is when we choose to adopt and accept our trusted friends as family.
How many friends do you have now that could move into the status of family for you?