In this article we explore the topic of the true purpose of family.  As shocking as it is, a significant proportion of our health and lack of wellbeing issues are associated with or can be traced back to our experiences with family.

We all have a relationship with the concept of family, afterall we are born into one of some sorts. Our experience of what family is and feels like and the responses that each of us has with and towards it varies –  from those who remain super close to their birth family as they grow up to others choosing to move away from this intimacy or ease once they hit adulthood. Then comes the stage of life where we go on to develop our own families through partnerships, marriage, children, friends or pets.

Families today come in all shapes and sizes and there is no longer a “normal” family of 2 adults (man and woman) and children. The so-called “traditional family” no longer exists as it was once known, although many may crave and hold onto that picture, wishing it to be that way.

The old saying “blood is thicker than water” usually springs to mind when considering the meaning of family. What this essentially is saying is that regardless of what happens, family will always be there, no matter what and no matter how we treat them. Because of this belief, that family relationships and loyalties are the strongest and most important ones, we may learn to love and treat people differently, favoring some and ignoring others.

But is this true love? With this belief, people would also often think that this gives them permission to exhibit unruly behaviours in the family environment, unruly behaviours they yet would not dare to let others outside the home see.

Behind closed doors and behind the guise of “family” we can be whatever we want to be and expect others to be OK with that. This is sadly reflected in the rising levels of domestic violence and abuse all around in the World today.

The family unit can so often be abused – any kind of behaviour goes because it is family, sometimes raised voices, jealousy, anger, blame all which can often be seen at family get togethers. Old childhood patterns and hurts play out well into the later years of life – we see it too often in clinic sessions. Of course, this is not the case with every family – there are some who experience much joy, ease and love in the family environment.

What if the family unit was meant to be a precious practice ground? A safe and precious practice ground for us to learn the principles and foundation of life to be lived in the World – to be ourselves in full, to be love and support others to be the same? Innately, we all know that.

What if the true purpose of family is simply to support those close to us to be all of who they really are?That is support each other to live from our essence. We are all born with our essence which is pure, which is true, yet somewhere along the way we get hurt and adopt behaviours, protections, patterns which lead us to living far, often so far away from who we are.

What if the purpose of family is to see those that we either choose to be in a partnership with, we give birth to, or have given birth to us as the love that they innately are? To learn to hold them in that love so they feel they can express from their essence without protection, but in the natural freedom that they were born with. This, of course, may require some personal healing for us to be able to to hold ourselves in that love first.

The essence of family is too often not lived within our family circles.As we again innately know, family is made of a circle of people with whom we trust, in which we choose to be intimate with, who we can ask for support when it is needed and equally offer that support back. They are not people we dump on, criticise, blame, put down, or take everything for granted but people with whom we choose to grow with and that support us in our evolution.

It is time to re-awaken ourselves to the true purpose of family? Ultimately, we are all part of one big global family and unless we are willing to learn to live that harmony in our own microcosm, it is foolish and irresponsible to expect it to be lived in our World.