Someone wrote me and asked me to write on the topic of family. He pointed out that I have a great family, so how do people who are not as fortunate as me stay positive when it comes to having a dysfunctional family.
Well, to be honest with you, there are entire sections of my family tree whose branches have been severed. It happened when I was very young, and it was hard to deal with then.
What ended up happening, though, was that people who were not even related to me by blood became family. That’s right. Some of my closest relatives are not even related to me by blood or marriage.
I could care less about the DNA, to be honest with you. I love them with all of my heart and they are my family.
What is Family?
Family is a cultural construct. That is what I learned in my studies of anthropology, my major in college.
In some cultures, first cousins call each other brother and sister. The anthropological definition of family is “two or more people who define themselves as family”.
If you are a product of a dysfunctional family, you could try to create your own definition of family. Struggling performers in New York City do this all of the time by celebrating the holidays together because they cannot afford to go home.
I know lots of people who made the healthy decision to sever ties with family members who were abusive. Personally, I applaud any choice that removes people from detrimental situations.
Making Room For The Good
In yoga, after a vigorous asana practice, we lie down in savasana, or corpse pose. It is the final relaxation pose where all we do is try to let go of tension, and to expand the moments in between our thoughts.
What that means is we try to just be, instead of thinking about how we should be.
Savasana is meant to be a metaphorical death where we surrender the things we no longer need, so we can make room in our lives for the good things that will benefit us.
What or who do you need to let go of in your life in order to be happier?
This is your life for the making. I do not recommend holding on to things that are not good for you, be that stress, anger, rage, resentment, jealousy, or unhealthy people in your life.
Even if you still deal with your dysfunctional family, you do not have to let them have power over you. You can choose to live your life for yourself and for the people who are good for you without letting unhealthy people control your actions or your emotions.
When you let go of that which you no longer need, you now have room in your life to accept love, joy, gratitude, happiness, and healthy family members, blood relatives or otherwise.
Family, like life, is what you make of it.