You don’t have to love your family
Jessica Wildfire

You make a very good point. We are brainwashed. We’re brainwashed into believing that we should somehow naturally, automatically love our family because they are our family. I agree, that’s a lie, and it can lead to a lot of guilt if you don’t naturally feel that way. However, where I disagree with you (if I understand you correctly) is in your definition of love. In my opinion, real love is not a feeling or an emotion. The feelings are simply the result of love, not the thing in itself. No, real love is an action. In fact, it’s a ongoing series of actions. It’s something you choose to do. I choose to love my family because by loving them, I maintain a connection to them. If I didn’t want to stay connected to them, I guess I wouldn’t bother to love them anymore. It’s the same with my husband — I choose to keep loving him because I’ve made a commitment to him. Love is something you have to keep feeding. It’s a fire you have to keep fuelling, otherwise, yeah, it just goes away.

So anyway, that’s just a very long and roundabout way of saying that you can pretty much love anyone you choose to. Yes, you can love someone you don’t respect, although I expect that through the process of loving them you’d end up discovering some quality (however small) about them that you could respect. You can also love people who treat you like shit, if you choose to. You can hate everything a person does, says and believes but still love them. That is your choice.