9 Lessons Only Your Family Can Teach You

by Gigi Engle

Family, amiright?

Can't live with 'em and can't live without 'em. But instead of ragging on the clan, let's focus on the positive here.

Your family has shaped you into the ridiculous, neurotic and totally awesome person you are today. Even when their embarrassing stories and drama make you want to run away and adopt a new identity, they still come first.

They are the first people you're exposed to as a bitty little thing, and they are the first ones to pass on their life lessons — no matter how good, bad or difficult those lessons might be.

Your family teaches you a lot about yourself through their wild antics, and you've got to love them for it. Sure, they are completely crazy, but it's the fun kind of crazy! And even if they show love in insane ways, it's still love. AND WE ALL NEED LOVE.

Whether they bring up the fact that you wet the bed until you were 12 in front of that girl you like, or put plastic wrap over the toilet seat to sabotage you, they love you in their own, um, unique way.

The relationship you have with your family runs deep, kind of like all of the insecurities that you can also attribute to them! (Just kidding. Sort of.) No matter how many times they mess with you, your connection is blood and that counts for something (most of the time).

So let's raise a glass and toast our families. We owe them one (or 20). Here are nine lessons only your family can teach you.

1. They teach you how to be strong, because otherwise you'd probably die.

Your family loves you, but your mom, dad, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins are not always easy to handle. They teach you how to stand up for yourself — by making you stand up for yourself.

In any family, you get pushed around. If you don't hold your own, you'll get stepped on. Your family forces you to challenge not only others, but also yourself. Tough love is better than no life, right?

2. They teach you how to learn by (their sometimes horrible) example.

Your family shows you that the people we love mess up. It's inevitable. We all screw up on the reg. It's by watching the people we love make mistakes that we learn how not to make those same errors in our own lives. Do as they say and not as they do, ya know?

Remember: Bringing open containers onto the train is illegal, okay?

It's those same family members, on the other hand, who also set a good example. Families teach you by doing, and it's up to you to draw lessons from their experiences.

3. They teach you about unconditional love because who else would love these weirdos?

When it comes to family, you'll always love them no matter what happens. Some pretty crazy things can go down between you and a family member, but you'll always get through it. The family drama is SO real. We have all been there.

And it's because of these crazy people that you truly learn that unconditional love really does mean unconditional. You might be the only one who will ever love your cousin who obsessively collects rocks, but it's his thing and more power to him!

No matter what happens, no matter how many times you put gum in your sister's hair or sneak out and give your mom a heart attack, your bond is unbreakable...because trust me, we've all tried and failed to break it, AMIRIGHT?!

4. They teach you who you are and how to own it.

At the root of all the silliness is love. You're a weirdo, but being a weirdo is FIERCE. Your family will have your back, and that makes being who you are — and embracing every part of your personality — that much easier.

A clan of weirdos is a strong clan, for sure.

5. They teach you how to seriously kick ass.

Nobody knows how to kick your ass like your older sibling, but nobody will be there to help you kick someone's ass like that same sibling.

Since you're used to being the punchline for their jokes and their literal punching bag, you can hold your own — no matter what the world brings.

Plus, with your family there, you always have backup when times get rough.

6. They teach you how to be a good friend.

Your siblings and cousins were your first friends, and those relationships shape all the relationships you'll forge in your life. Unfortunately, no one will ever be as fire as one of your sibs, but hey, the world can try.

You learn about trust, responsibility and some seriously vicious sarcasm.

They teach you how to build and not completely mess up your life by being a terrible person. Most important, they teach you how to forgive, and how to move on from hurt. (Even though WE KNOW you're not hurt, okay?)

7. They teach you serious, serious, SERIOUS patience.

Your family can (and probably will, TBH) drive you completely insane.

From eating the last popsicle — that was SERIOUSLY rude, Dennis to embarrassing you in front of your friends, they will put your patience to the test. But you start to develop very strong people skills after dealing with such a rowdy band of individuals. Nothing will make you calmer than a life of dealing with the human beings you're related to.

Going to your first job with a horrible boss will be a cakewalk in comparison to that time your mom grounded you for most of high school for stealing her car. For the rest of your life, you will be cool, calm and collected, no matter the situation.

8. They teach you what's actually important in life.

All of your family members would save your butt if you needed them to.

At the end of the day, your family is the most important thing you have, so it's natural that they teach you what is — as well as what isn't — valuable. There is no time for haters when you're trying to kick ass in the world.

The older you get, the more you value them for what they bring to your life. You feel grateful for their overzealous interest in your life, and for the strength they give you when you basically ruin your own life.

People may come and go, but family is forever. (Just like that ill-advised tattoo you got of an anchor that says "MOM.")

9. They teach you how to be a team player (even when you didn't want to be on this team).

Your family will undoubtedly teach you how to share. (Mostly because your parents always thought your belongings were communal. But, no, there is no bitterness here...haha...) RIP, Barbie car, seriously.

You're never a solo act when you have older siblings and cousins to keep you in line. And you'll benefit down the road from learning how to delegate and wait your turn.

As you get older and find yourself in stressful situations in college or at work, you'll realize how equipped you are to deal with conflict and to be a team player, all because your family taught you from a young age that the world doesn't revolve around you...even though it should, IMHO.

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