Actually, You Can Choose Your Family

Actually, You Can Choose Your Family

What ?blood is thicker than water? really means

Image for postPhoto by Tyler Nix

Have you ever heard the expression ?you can?t choose your family?? Maybe someone said it to you during the holiday season, when you were complaining about the arguments you inevitably have with your relatives every year.

It?s one of those uncomfortable things we have to tolerate about life, right? Your family sucks, but you?re stuck with them.

While I?m lucky enough to have a good relationship with my Mom and a few other relations, for the most part, the rest of my family seems like aliens to me. They aren?t monsters or anything, they just have very different lives and see the world in different way than I do.

Interacting with my biological relatives is often frustrating and exhausting for me. We don?t see eye-to-eye, and trying to stand on my tippy-toes to reach is something that I can only do for so long.

I?m not alone in this. Not everyone gets along with their family, or feels like their family understands or accepts them. But of course you have to stick with them anyway, right? After all, they?re your family.

Have you ever heard the expression ?Blood is thicker than water?? This expression implies that being related by blood to someone is the most important thing.

It sounds dramatic in an archaic, Knights of the Round Table sort of way. It seems to imply an obligation to be loyal, under penalty of some old school punishment like being tarred and feathered.

Idioms make their way into the popular lexicon for a reason, though we may not always understand their origin. In this case, the true meaning of the phrase has been lost in translation.

The version of this expression which we use today has been edited. The original expression goes like this:

?The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.?

The original expression implies the opposite: that the relationships you choose will be stronger than the ones that are forced on you by genetics.

The truth is, it doesn?t really matter who you share DNA with

Our families are made up of the people who care about us and stick by us when we need them the most.

Sometimes our blood relatives are family, sometimes our friends are family, sometimes our coworkers are family, and eventually, our significant others and our children might become our family.

A lot of people even think of their pets as family members? and it?s no wonder. Your dog will probably do a better job of loving and supporting you in life than your racist uncle ever will.

Family drives you to the ER when you?re sick, and to the airport when you have a plane to catch. Family answers the phone when you need to vent, and invites you over when you need a hug.

Family remembers ?that one time,? and gets all your inside jokes. Family checks on you to make sure you?re okay. Family tells you that you aren?t okay when you?re saying you are and you?re clearly not.

Family wants you to be yourself and to follow your dreams. Family cheers for you when you succeed and is honest enough to tell you when you?re making a mistake. Family protects you when you?re in danger and steps back when it?s time for you to stand on your own.

Family knows all your secrets.

Family sees the good, the bad, and everything in between in you.

Family loves you anyway.

You can choose your family.

Choose wisely.

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