Can you really "Love" your family?

Mitch (@mitchapalooza) 9 years, 5 months ago

Your family (by family i mean blood relatives, mother, father, siblings, ect.) is not chosen by you, you are born into it and cannot do a thing about it. Sure most people have good relationships with their family and say they “love” them, but do you?

How can you really love someone that you never chose to be with? Sure your family teaches you things and is always there for you, in most cases that is, but thats only because they have to.

I do not particularly like my family, but i’m stuck with them forever. I can’t leave them without them and everyone else thinking i’m being a bad son. But if i don’t love them why should i be forced to stay with them forever? Why can’t i go join a new family, say my best friends, because i actually like being around those people? I cannot stand the fake “love” and affection my family throws around.

The person you marry is the only person you really love. Simply because you are making a concise choice to be with them. Thats love. Being forced to accept who your family is and love them no matter what is not love.

Love is a choice, one that should not be made for you. I say leave your family and fall in love with someone that you actually like and that really loves you not because they have to, but because they choose to.

August 25, 2012 at 10:50 am
Anonymous (2,654) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

Yes, you can. Actually if you cannot love your own family, if you shared your childhood around, when someone took care of you when you were ill, payed for your future and everything else that you should be grateful for, then you would probably not love anyone else and you’ll relate everything to your lack of love towards your most close ones.

“I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!” -Michael Corleone

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Nick (554) (@splashartist) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

I love my family very much and will do anything to protect them.

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Floater (24) (@grantgodfrey7) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

Love is a choice, but you can still love your family, as I do.

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Shredder (16) (@shredder) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

Easy: you can not give a shit about what other people think of you and do what you know is right for you. Go be with whoever you want, your life has no obligations.

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Kidd (1,059) (@kidd) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza, “The person you marry is the only person you really love.”

With your theory? Not necessarily. You forget arranged marriages. They’re not common anymore–especially not in the US–but I do know an old couple who’s marriage was arranged. They are from India, actually.

Now, despite your theory–you can’t love who you’ve been forced to be with–they love each other. They love their families. They love the children they’ve raised and the spouses the children were free to choose.

In my mind, you can love and care for anyone on earth. It’s a choice, still, but it’s a choice to make it work. Everyone is compatible…just some more than others. I truly believe that.

I love my family, personally. Why? Because I choose to. I choose to see the best in them and vice versa. I’m a very idealistic person, though. A bit of a romantic, really, which I’m only now starting to realize.

Also, that all being said, did you know that Eskimos have, like, thirty different words for “love”? The same word for loving your family is not the same word for loving your spouse. It’s not even the same word for loving your personal possessions. But the English language? I love my computer, I love my family, I love my best friend, I love my dog.

It’s interesting to me that I have to express all those different feelings with one word, because I definitely don’t love my computer the same way I love my best friend.

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Mitch (1) (@mitchapalooza) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@kidd the eskimo thing about how they have many words for love is exactly what im talking about. My point is that you may say you love your family but it is not the same love you feel for your wife. Maybe there should be more than one word in the english language for love.

True love can never be forced. Like what you said about the arranged marriages, they may say they love each other but i would consider it the same love as loving a family member. It was never their choice to love each other, they were just forced to but i worked out in the end. Love can only be true when you find it in someone does not have to love you but they do anyway.

maybe affection is the right word for the love you feel for a family member. you care about them, but you do not “love” them.

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KellyM (107) (@kellah) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza, I was actually just having a converstaion with my friends about this last night. I really think that your family is who you make them.

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Kidd (1,059) (@kidd) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza, I do love them though. It’s just not the same /kind/ of love. It’s the same /degree/, just not the same kind. You can’t tell me how I feel. :/

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Floater (24) (@grantgodfrey7) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza, Just because you’re forced to be with someone does not mean you can’t actually love them too.

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Mitch (1) (@mitchapalooza) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@grantgodfrey7, @kidd, What im trying to say is that what you feel for your family is not love, its something else. Maybe its affection maybe its just you care about them because they care about you. But frankly the only reason your family cares about you is because they are your family. If you were not related to them they would not care. Do you care about some random person you see walking across the street, no.

In my opinion you cannot love anyone in your life that you did not choose. Even your own kids if you have them. Lets say you have a kid that is pure evil. They become the worlds worst cereal killer, and torture and kill hundreds. Would you still love them? No. But society tell you you have too because they are your child. What you feel for your child is not love, its a strong parenting instinct that makes you feel the need to protect and provide for your them.

Love is a magical emotion that evokes deep feelings of passion and affection for someone else. Love, of course, is associated with sex. When you love someone you have sex with them almost as a testament to your love. Its not like you are going to have sex with anyone in your family, thats just messed up.

When you get married to someone, in most cases, you really love them. You make the choice to be with them forever. If you believe in an afterlife, forever is a real long time. Neither you, nor your family made a choice to be with you forever. Sure your parents made the choice to have a kid but they did not pick and choice what kind of person you would be. They did not choice to be with you forever, they just choose to add another member to the family for better or worse. This is in no way the same as getting married.

Love for your wife will always be more real then “love” for your family simply because you have the choice to be with anyone in the world and you choose her.

These are just my opinions based on my own experiences. Im not trying to offend anyone, just sharing my thoughts on love.

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TheSkaFish (962)M (@theskafish) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

You can absolutely love your family. It’s true that you cannot choose who your family is, but if they prove that time and again that they really care for you and want you to succeed in life, that they’re always on your side, then yes you can definitely love them if their love for you is unconditional. You might not always agree with them, for example, I’m sure my family would like it if I just got a job. But I know it’s not because they want me to be miserable, but because they want me to succeed, and they believe success can happen that way. I don’t necessarily agree with it but I understand.

There’s many kinds of love….I’d say familial love is its own kind, but has a lot in common with the platonic love one has for their friends. Of course you don’t “want” your family and friends like you want your girlfriend/boyfriend as the case may be, but it is still love nonetheless.

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Ian (38) (@geryon89) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

i used to feel similar. some people just don’t get along so well. you know, whatever. but as i’ve been got older, i have become so grateful. your family knows in a way that no one else ever will, and they still love you. many parents want their children to be a certain way, but mine don’t and i am pretty ashamed of ever feeling anything but love for them.

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Anonymous (512) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

Familial love is unconditional love; your parents are essentially obligated to ‘love’ their children, (and to a lesser extent, brothers are supposed to love sisters and other siblings/family etc.). All other types of love are “decided upon” in my opinion. So yes, OP, you CAN love your family, but it is certainly a different brand of love than would be shared with a spouse or even a friend. Again though, these are just my opinions and you may agree or disagree at your choosing.

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Bobby (190) (@bobbylloydxd) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza, You seem to speak very certainly about something that you don’t understand very well at all. I feel like you are going to believe what you believe no matter what you hear. you posted a question with out being interested in what anyone else has to say, but instead to try to convince the members of this community that they cannot love their families. I can assure you that many of us do love our families very deeply.

If you want further explanation into how you are wrong and why I would be glad to type it out for you. I don’t feel like wasting time though. You have already dismissed many valid viewpoints as to why people choose to love their families.

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Shredder (16) (@shredder) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

Love is a choice just as happiness is. You dont have to love anybody but if you chose to live in love you might find its rather enjoyable compared to discussing all the reasons why you dont have to.

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Mitch (1) (@mitchapalooza) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@bobbylloydxd, you are completely missing my point. My point was never to say that you cannot “love” your family. My point is that what you feel for your family is not love, its something else.

Im not trying to convince anyone of anything, just trying to make you realize there is a difference between the love of a family member and the love of a spouse. And that you cannot really “love” your family because its not love its something else.

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Julia (120) (@collinsj2009) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

Yes. Absolutely.

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Shredder (16) (@shredder) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza, You, along with most of society, hold on too tightly to the concept of love being physical passion between two people sharing intimacy when there is a much much more vast embodiment of the emotion the word is used to describe. Of course your love for family or friends or spouses will be different because no two people are the same, however:

You have a choice to spill love from your being, and while different people may receive your love differently it is still all coming from the same you. It is your decision to not give your love to all that makes the difference seem so sharp.

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Anonymous (26) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

A mother can give her child away for adoption. A mother can treat her child so badly to have them taken away by child care services. A father can abuse his child. To an extent, a family IS chosen. No, I did not choose my mother out of a Parent shelter from a bunch of other mothers in cages, and in turn, she did not do so with me. But she did not also give me away for adoption. or pawn me off on some other family member because she didn’t like who I was, and I in turn did not chose to live with another family member, or other, because I did not like her.

My love for my family members is a choice. I love my mother for being a big part of who I am, for her sense of humor, and for her wisdom. Not because she is just my mother.

No one is making you like or love your family, but I think you’re missing the point entirely, and I also think you’re intentionally pushing something away because of a somewhat childish and narrow minded argument, and in turn, missing out on something that could be potentially wonderful.

And no, obviously no love is equal. I do not love my brother like I love my mother, and I do not love my mother like I love my spouse. But I do carry them all in my heart, with love.

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Joseph Gordon (2) (@mrpink) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

I think our families are a part of our life. We don’t have to love them. It depends on the family. But love is like happiness and i like happiness. If you want to be miserable or if you want to feel the pain it’s all your choice. Sorry for English

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Mitch (1) (@mitchapalooza) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@deafening, Fair point, but to an extent it is extremely unlikely that someone would really walk out on their family. But the people that do i would say agree with my point, that they do not have to love their families if they don’t want to.

Your parents do make that concise decision to raise you and care for you, but would they had they known how you would be as an adult? Our relationships with our families seem far to important to me.

Lets say i really needed to talk to someone, i would not talk to my father or mother i would talk to my best friend. I would say that that means i value his opinion and trust him more than my family. Does that mean i love him? No, not at all. But i do deeply value his friendship. And on top of that, we choose to be friends, we were not forced to. If there is a clearer definition of love they way you describe it is with your family that would be it; deeply valuing someone and respecting them and knowing they helped shape who you are. That is not love. Thats admiration. If that is love then i guess i love my friend and not my family.

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Anonymous (26) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza, Those are qualities that coexist with the definition of love. They are not the only only reasons for love, but they are some. Love does not equal sex. The only love you seem to choose to accept is the love for the one you call spouse. But that voids your argument entirely of your parent loving you, but not knowing who you’ll be as an adult. You love your spouse, but you realize that we all change as we become older. You do not know the person your spouse will be when they are 50 yet you choose to LOVE them, by your definition, at twenty or thirty.

A lot of families have falling outs when everyone gets older. A lot of families don’t. We choose to keep in touch. We choose to continue to show our love because our relationships have held strong throughout all the changes we all have been through.

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” – Bertrand Russell

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Ray Butler (1,423)M (@trek79) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

I remember hearing somewhere “You don’t have to like your family but you’ve gotta love em” but regardless of how any of you or I feel about institutionalized religion, what Jesus says about the subject of Love is, to my opinion, irrefutable. Especially in the Sermon on the mount, but you may recall he said “Continue to love your enemies and pray for their salvation”. So if you cannot even do this for the people closest to you in life then you could never hope to do so for any other person in the world.
But it is the people closest to us that can cause the greatest pain, as we have dirrect contact with them, but it is an opportunity, and I would not demand forgiveness because that I do not think is vital or in the way of the spirit of love. The spirit of love is letting go of the attachment of vengence, so it has nothing to do with forgiving them but about allowing you to move on and not destroy your life for the sake of one beneath you, or one not so fortunate to have your sensibilities on goodness.
(Since I am in the mood for quoting the Godfather) “Do not hate your enemies, it clouds your judgement”

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SBas (37) (@sabas4) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@mitchapalooza You know what, I feel you. I have a funny relationship with a member in my family who I really don’t understand. The only person I’ve known to consistently disappoint me. I’ve come to the point where I’ve accepted this person and I am much less frustrated around this person. But the truth is it will be false for me to say I don’t love this person even though I can’t ever imagine saying out loud that I love this person!! We are inextricably linked to our parents. We have their genes and we often have at least one similar characteristic. it’s not a forced love, but I know what you mean.

I see it as one of the many forms if love It’s a natural love, an instinctual love, our first taste of love. So from day one we run to mum and dad because we decided we loved them back. Without love we would have turned out not a kittle unstable and not quite right!! so that counts for something. And love never dies so no matter what the love is there. Yes, things change as you grow and you may choose to distance yourself from a parent who has changed or is not being the best person they can be. But if someone ever threatened that person, if that person was sick in hospital etc you will re-remember that love you have for each other. It is instinct and you will run to their rescue

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Kim (0) (@maraudering) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and have read most of the replies.

I understand why some people may feel like they’re ‘forced’ to love their family. Even as kids, we’re taught to say ‘I love you’ to our parents and siblings. Also, we’re made by our parents to play nice and love/care for our siblings. In that sense, it could be understood that we’re made to care for people we may not necessarily like or get along with. However, I do believe that you can GROW to love a family member in much the same way we may grow to love our significant others. Disregarding the ‘love at first sight’ idea, you grow to love your significant other after you get to know them, experience things with them, etc. I think that the same could happen with family members. At the same time, I think that people can grow NOT to love family members because of certain circumstances.

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