Building a Family

Family is a safe space of unconditional love to retreat to for some and thorny territory fraught with complexity and even danger for others. The vast library of human culture which has developed throughout the ages has always been concerned with the concept of family.

We started off with the animalistic dynamic ruled only by instinct, where male impregnates female and she then raises her offspring mostly by herself to perpetuate the circle of life through basic reproduction. Subsequent eras designated the family as the primary nucleus of society within a patriarchal civilisation. Marriages were arranged out of convenience or for legacy or financial reasons rather than love, and mother and father stuck to strictly defined roles of material provision and child-rearing. Nowadays, the family has turned into a more fluid notion shaped by society’s fluctuating trends and ideas on what constitutes the kind of relationships we hold dearest to us.

It’s now more important than ever to transcend our collective conditioning and recognise that family goes beyond blood relations. Sometimes, the bonds we forge with people unrelated to us along our life path resonate more deeply than the people we grew up with. Familial abuse and domestic violence are increasingly serious problems plaguing the world, yet the attitude of blind worship to one’s kin and judgement of individuals who stray from this perceived law persists in many communities. There’s a subconscious resistance to these realities because most of us cannot bring ourselves to imagine that the people who brought us into this world and are meant to want the best for us sometimes not only fall gravely short of this standard, but perpetrate toxic family cycles – often across multiple generations.

Love knows no borders, papers, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or any other divisive category pushed on us by those mired in fear-based thinking. It especially pays no heed to the labels or impositions we try to force upon it according to centuries-old establishments and authorities.

We’re born into our family for a reason – whether it’s to revel in its beautiful luxuries of incomparable compassion and care, or to let go of the pain it has caused us to create our own ideal of a nest stitched together by mutual respect and presence. When real love is absent from our family of origin, our calling might be to speak up about the injustice and inspire others to awaken and heal from their destructive family patterns. Like everything in the universe, the family unit is in constant flux and ultimately amounts to what we make of it. We have the power to choose our family. Let’s use it wisely.