Extended family is important to living a fulfilling life.

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In the past century a new phenomenon in Western Culture was to move for employment purposes. The focus was no longer on extended families but the nuclear family being primarily comprised of parents and their children.

Before this happened being human was more of a tribal experience. There were aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and siblings all near by to spread out the chores, the expenses, to share the joys and ease the burdens. People of like mind, when it worked well they were positive and supportive of family members’ endeavors. They were a source of advice and were there, which could lend to feelings of safety and comfort.

I am lucky. I have a pretty cool family. However, I know that not everyone does. The thing is, everyone needs support and with the way the economy is going and the uncertain future it seems even more important to create a support community around each individual.

Having a support system of people is an important part of having a fulfilling life. To feel the love and support of others emotionally, for advice, and even for other kinds of help during times of trouble. We need community. We need our people.

Now for those who have more of a challenge with their blood family. If they are somehow toxic, abusive, or generally not supportive if they hurt more than help or feel energizing to be with it is possible that the solution is to create a surrogate family.

A surrogate family are people who do support you. Who encourage you and have your best interest at heart. These are people you can share holidays and special times with and feel comfortable to be your authentic self. People who are loving and giving in positive ways. Sometimes friends can be even closer than family. The important part is creating a loving net of people who care to recharge you with positive thoughts and with whom you can live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Where can I find these people? You may ask. Usually you find them doing the things you do naturally. Look for people with common hobbies, interests and view points. You may also have friends with opposing view points, and that’s ok, as long as the time spent with them is mostly harmonious and not combative and stressful. Find people you work well with when putting together a meal or doing a project together. The kind of people you wouldn’t mind being stuck on a deserted island with. The kind of people you know will have your back and be there to pick you up after a bad day.

Having a sense of belonging and community is something I feel we are sorely lacking in the modern age. We can still be tech savvy and modern while still being able to enjoy the old fashioned tradition of family whether they are related by blood or not the important part is to be connected with love, connected by the heart.

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