Who is your family?

Family, family, family. What even is family?

We can talk biology, but it doesn’t boil down to that, does it? People are adopted into families. People marry each other and become their own families. There’s chosen families. Families can come in so many different shapes and sizes.

At its most basic, family is a group of people who genuinely care about each other.

That’s the defining characteristic. It’s not biology, it’s love.

What family does

Your family, the people who love you, probably do most (if not all) of these things:

  • Listen to you
  • Look out for you when you’re hurting
  • Share good times with you
  • Ask you for help when they need it
  • Speak well of you to others
  • Respect your autonomy as an individual

However it plays out, the important thing about family is that they love you unconditionally for who you are.

What family does not do

Family is something we all need. But a lot of us go through life getting profoundly hurt by people who use that label.

What does it look like when that label gets improperly used? Here are a few that I’ve seen.

  • They ignore your perspective
  • They claim that the person you are causes them pain
  • They require you to behave in ways that are uncomfortable for you
  • They complain about your failures
  • They talk about you behind your back
  • They violate your personal boundaries
  • They love you on the condition that you are the person they’ve decided you should be

People who treat others these ways are not being loving. They’re being manipulative and controlling. Their love isn’t real love, because it comes with the condition that you be someone other than yourself.

Family uplifts you. People displaying these behaviors suppress you. Watch out for them, and be careful what kind of influence you let them have on your life. They are not your family.


So. Who is your family? Chances are, you can find them everywhere. They may show up in places you’d never expect.

Maybe as you’ve read this, you’ve recognized some of the people in your life as family members. Tell them you see them that way. It’s a wonderful thing to hear from someone you love. ❤️

1 comment

  • Family growing up in children’s home and foster care I woulddefine this as my family
    And after 36 Yrs of Evangelical belief system the people who I have placed my trust and invested lots of my time were my family
    But then only to realise that friends I had for many years all seem to be too busy to maintain relationship with me when my daughter cane it as Trans in Sept 2017

    Now it’s purely my beautiful daughter and my husband that are my family and his brother and sisters and only one sister on my side
    Because they just love there niece unconditionally
    I use to use the word family all the time
    Now I understand family is very unique and precious which holds a whole new meaning to me now at 51 yrs of age I’m still learning these lessons

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