Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the festive holiday season is officially upon us. I was raised in a rather conservative religious household that didn’t celebrate Christmas or any other holiday. It’s a very new experience for me to incorporate new traditions into my life. At some point, I’ll tell that story… but not today.
I want to talk about who becomes our family. Family is such a complex, crazy, and beautiful thing. So many people today, including myself, think first of the nuclear family when they hear that word.
In my humble opinion, family isn’t limited to a noun; it’s not just simply something you are. Rather, it should be thought of as a verb. Being a family is something you DO! Over the course of the last three years, that concept of family has been firmly established in my heart.
I’m amazed at the number of people who have supported me in sad times and laughed with me during happy times. My friends sat with me in silence when there were no correct words to describe the circumstances, and they hugged and listened to me when I had no one else to talk to.
Humans are beautiful. Even in a polarized world, I’ve discovered that when the majority of humans see others suffering, they take action to alleviate the pain.
Last year, a wonderful person who I now consider family gave me an exercise to try when I was overwhelmed.
“Focus on other people and ask yourself what steps you can take to make a person smile and be happy, even if the smile lasts just for that moment or day. Make it your goal to leave the conversation with them feeling better than when it started.”
I think that advice changed my life forever!
It has caused me to reflect on so many different people I encounter. It has also had the unexpected side effect of making me think really, really hard to locate beautiful qualities in people I don’t initially like or appreciate. It has helped me understand that no one is perfect and also that I probably have a lot of qualities that others may not initially be drawn towards as well.
Dang, self-awareness is a powerful tool!
As everyone goes about their lives this festive season, I’m going to continue asking myself those questions, and I’ll also continue expanding my family one way or another.
I hope everyone has a beautiful time this year. To everyone who has adopted me and treated me as family, I love you, and thank you. 💙🙏🏻