Supportive Families Make All the Difference

Having a Supportive Family is the Gift of a Lifetime

Being raised by a supportive family really helps you grow into a mentally strong and healthy person.

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This story serves as both a thank you letter to my supportive and encouraging family, but also as a message to any parents or soon-to-be parents about how supporting your kids can truly impact their life for the better.

My whole family - from my parents, to my grandparents, to my brothers - have always been my biggest supporters and have always served as sources of inspiration.

They never tell me what to do, or when to do it; they encourage me to talk things through instead.

Whenever there's a decision I need to make, my family will be there for me when I need somebody to talk to. They don't tell me what to do, but they listen to my ideas and give me their opinions, but only when I ask for them. They help me through the decision-making process (whether it's something as small as what to do a project on or as big as where to go to school) so that I'm better equipped to make smart decisions on my own.

They know the value of positive reinforcement and a healthy self-esteem.

My parents and grandparents made sure that all of my successes, and all my brothers' successes, were praised and celebrated no matter how big or small they were. It could have been anything from getting an A on an exam to getting a new job, and there would be at least a Facebook post about it, not to mention endless bragging to their friends and coworkers. My parents and grandparents know the value of positive reinforcement and that the more they show how proud of us they are when we do something good, the more likely we are to do something good in the future. However, they're always sure frame it in a way where the success doesn't go to our heads.

They don’t expect anything from us, except that we embrace ourselves and respect others.

This one's a two-parter. My family constantly reminded my brothers and I that we're loved by them no matter what. No matter who we love, no matter what path we choose, they'll always love and care for us. This fostered a very healthy relationship for me with my family, especially my parents. Because of those constant reminders, I was never afraid to tell them about what I was thinking or feeling or what was going on in my life. I was able to be open with them as much as I needed, which helped me understand what I was feeling and helped my parents to understand what was going on in my life. It created an opportunity for open communication between us, which is beneficial to me even now that I'm in college. I know when something's on my mind I can pick up the phone and call home, and my parents appreciate being kept up-to-date on my life at school as well.

The second part is about respecting other people, but it's still been a benefit to me. My parents are very open-minded people and they have passed that open-mindedness on to my brothers and I. I can't recall any time when they judged someone based on their size or their religion or their looks or their sexual orientation (which isn't to say it never happened, because nobody's perfect, but it didn't happen often enough to leave an imprint). They always told us to never judge a book by a cover and to respect anyone who comes across our path, regardless of the differences we may see between us. Even more so than that, they didn't just tell us to respect others, but they modeled the behavior, too. It's hard to explain how freeing it can be to have an open-mind and be accepting of just about anyone who walks into your life.

The support my family has given me over the years is the reason I'm the person I am today. Without them and their encouragement I don't think I would've been able to make the decision to move away from home for school (even if it is only two hours away). I certainly wouldn't be as accepting of friendships with people of different backgrounds as I am. And I know I wouldn't have the good mental health nor the positive relationship with them that I do.

I could never thank them enough for this, and I could never express how important it is for other families to be supportive of their kids as well.

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To My Best Friend Who Taught Me What True Friendship Is, I Can't Thank You Enough

"To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding."
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Dear Best Friend,

You have been a part of my life for quite some time now. You have seen my good, bad, and ugly sides and have stuck by my side through it all. I don't know if I could ever find the words to truly thank you for everything your friendship has given me, but I am definitely going to try.

Our lives have taken some twist and turn these past few years, but we have stayed strong through it all.

Thank you for judging me just the right amount.

Throughout our friendship, I have made some very questionable decisions. A lot of people would say "thanks for never judging me," but I feel like everyone needs a best friend who's going to tell them how it is, to tell them when they are about to make a bad decision or how to avoid something worse from happening. You have always told me how it is (even when I don't always want to hear it), but I know that I can come to you whenever I need someone to set me straight.

You're always down to do nothing with me.

I think that you are the one person that I can call up to hang out and do absolutely nothing with and have a good time. From the nights sitting in and playing card games to ordering Chinese food and watching an entire Netflix series while I dance around with the cat: I know that we could do anything, and nothing together and it would be fun.

But also, you're always down to get lit with me.

I swear one day we will be two old moms at a bar drinking vodka crans and laughing about the stupid shit our husbands and children do. You're always down to go out and have a good time. Even if everyone else we're with is miserable, we find a way to laugh at ourselves.

You are one of the few constant things in my life.

I've lost a lot of friends in my life, but you have stayed by my side through everything. I can't remember the last time we actually fought about anything, but even when we do we can't stay mad at each other for more than a day. I know we will be in each other's lives until we literally keel over.

I want you yo know that you're the strongest person I know.

You've dealt with things that not many people go through ever in their life. You have always been so mature, and you handle everything with grace. You inspire me every day with your goals and successes and I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments.

Above all else, you deserve the world.

It's so easy to get caught up in your own mind and think that you deserve the things that happen to you, but please know that the only thing you deserve is happiness. Please settle for nothing short of that. It may take a bit to find your happiness, but I will be there every step of the way. You're a remarkable human being, and I want nothing but the best for you.

To the person who will hold your heart someday, please do not break it. To the person who may wrong you, you will regret it forever. To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding.

You, my best friend, future bridesmaid, godmother of my children, the person to bail me out of jail, the one who lets me cry on their couch for twelve hours,

I love you.

I will cherish our friendship forever. Thank you for being you.

Love always,

Your best friend.

Cover Image Credit: Adriana Ranieri

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How To Cope With A Best Friend Breakup


Breaking up with a boyfriend is one thing, but breaking up with your best friend is a whole new level of heartbreak.

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We all know breakups can be tough, but when that breakup happens to be between you and your best friend, things reach a new level of heartbreak. I met my best friend junior year of high school after our Spanish teacher randomly assigned us to be partners; we struggled so much in that class but in the end, we truly became inseparable. When senior year rolled around we were still close as ever; people would often joke that we were sisters because we looked and acted so much alike. We would go on little dates together, go to parties together, and were always the first person we called when something "major happened."

When my best friend's boyfriend of four years cheated on her while we were spring breaking in Europe, it became my duty to make her feel better; I would randomly drop off flowers and little notes to her house, spend countless hours just listening to her cry and vent, and even stopped talking to people associated with her boyfriend so as to show my "support." All of these things were no big deal to me considering I loved this girl like a sister; whatever she needed I was there to give that to her.

Things soon took a sharp turn when we entered not only the same college but the same sorority. While I was struggling with the social aspect of FSU, my best friend soon found new best friends. When I started having major issues with my boyfriend, I would automatically text/call my best friend as she did with me, but instead of support, I got the sense that she was passive and uninterested. Our little dates and goofy inside jokes disappeared and reappeared between her and her new friends, and my comfortableness around her soon turned into insecurity.

Coming to terms with the fact that the girl I knew everything about is now basically a stranger was a hard one to overcome; I didn't want to accept the fact that my best friend decided it was time to find new ones. It's heartbreaking knowing that the special things you shared with a person are now being shared with others, and it's hard to accept the fact that you aren't wanted or needed by the one person you thought would be by your side forever.

Since school has ended I think I have accepted the fact that we're no longer what we used to be. Of course, it still stings when I see social media posts with her new, college friends, but I just have to remind myself that this is part of life and I just have to move on. I will forever cherish the memories I made with her, but it's time to acknowledge that they were made with someone in my past, not with someone in my present.

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