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Chosen Family Matters

Sometimes, the family you are born into isn’t necessarily the one where you feel the most connected, understood, or comfortable. Whether you and your family of origin have different values and beliefs, or have a strained relationship for other reasons, you are not alone. This disconnect can, however, make us feel alone. Some people that have found themselves in similar situations have found it helpful to create their own support system or chosen family.

What is a chosen family?

A chosen family is a group of people or certain individuals you have intentionally selected with whom you don’t have a blood relationship. A chosen family does not necessarily replace a family of origin, but they can help add value, support, and enrichment to your life.

Who or what does a chosen family include?

A chosen family includes anyone who provides the same love and support that a nuclear family might. They may do things like provide you housing, share meals with you, care for you when you’re sick, or check in regularly. However, a chosen family dynamic is not exclusive to caregiving and is primarily about providing mutual support when it may otherwise be lacking.

What are some reasons why someone may have a chosen family?

Typically, someone may have a chosen family if they were rejected or outcast from their family of origin, which can happen for several different reasons. People who identify as LGBTQ+ experience an increased risk of being rejected by their families than cisgender or heteronormative folks. However, other reasons someone may have a chosen family is because they lost their family early in life, had a falling out, or simply live far away from their family of origin.

How does one find or build their chosen family?

Solid friendships are typically the foundation of a chosen family. So, looking at your current friendships and identifying how to best support each other may be a good place to start. You may already consider someone to be part of your chosen family without using the term for it. Different communities may also hold space for finding your chosen family whether it be local LGBTQ+ events, church groups, support groups, or community events.

What are the benefits of a chosen family?

The benefits of a chosen family are as vast as those of having a supportive biological family. Having people that believe in you builds feelings of self-worth, improves mental health, and reduces overall risk factors involved with the hardships of life. The right support can change someone’s life.

There are no limits to what family looks like, and whether or not you share a blood connection isn’t always pertinent. If there is mutual love, support, and respect, you have found your people. If you feel separation from your family of origin and are seeking extra support, Centerstone can help. For more information, call us at 877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123) or visit our counseling services page.

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