You can’t choose your family. It’s just that simple.

There’s this social requirement that says no matter how bad family members are, you need to remain connected with them.  I would say that’s a good goal, but it’s not capable of being borne out 100% of the time.  In fact, I would also say that such a social requirement is bulls***.  How’s that for directness?

There are going to be times when you have family members who are completely toxic to your life.  Those who do their absolute best to belittle you.  Those who are emotionally (or physically) abusive.  Or, those who try to destroy your self-esteem or crush the goodness in you.  Should you remain connected with those people?  I think not.

I’ve watched my oh-so-gracious brother deal with this very issue with his father, since our mother died.  And, I marvel at his ability to keep looking ahead, with very little anger or hatred … just acceptance and a decision to move on with his life.  Great job, Bro.  Mom’s with you every step of the way.

Here’s one of the biggest truths in life … there are just some things you don’t have a choice about.  Some things where you have to let go and disconnect.  It’s tough but sometimes it’s necessary.  Sometimes, this includes family.  Yet, this is thought of as taboo – to disconnect from family.  Don’t we espouse, “Blood is thicker than water?”  That’s why people stay connected … sometimes to the detriment of their well-being.

A while back I watched my best friend eulogize his father.  I sobbed the entire time.  Not because the eulogy was so good or because of the father’s death.  It was because I knew how difficult their relationship had been and how painful it was for him to put himself out there in that public sort of way, regarding a man … his father … who really was not a great parental role model.  I admired my friend so much for his words (and I used every kleenex around me to prove it!).

Life’s not perfect.  In fact, it’s super messy.  We are born and we will die.  We live with joy because of the people and the love we experience every single day.  These people don’t have to be family members.  They just need to love you and treat you with respect.  You, in turn, will do the same.

We can’t choose our family, but we can create one.  It’s just that simple.

And with that, we begin our quiet walk toward the holidays.  A time where love and gratitude (not necessarily family) should be the focus of our experiences.

Have a great start to your week!  XO

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