1. They understand the joy that can be found in the little things. Just like any other kid growing up, they loved toys, they loved going on trips, they loved surprises. But they were also lucky enough to find pure happiness in the simplest things: long nights spent hanging out at the dinner table, laughter in the car rides that should have been long and boring, and many other things that would have been uneventful and forgetful if it weren’t for their family.
2. They can find the good in anyone. Being close with your family doesn’t mean you don’t fight. On the contrary, they can remember intense screaming matches they had with probably every single member of their family. But what they learned is that no matter how frustrated or irritated someone can make you, everyone has lovable and redeemable qualities once your anger fades.
3. Their priorities are simple. Things like wealth and a steady career can be wonderful additions to your life. But the most important things to someone who is close with their family are the small things: family dinners, holidays spent with loved ones, health, laughter, trust, loyalty. The things that make them the most happy are the things that are already right in front of them.
4. They developed a solid sense of self at a young age. Growing up with strong ties to your siblings and parents helps you to understand what kinds of qualities and behaviors you most admire in others, and consequently what kind of person that you yourself want to become.
5. They know that it’s okay to ask for help when they need it. Forming deep relationships with loved ones at a young age teaches you that no matter what happens – whether you did nothing wrong at all or whether you were the one to screw up – your loved ones will do everything they can to help you. You just need to remember to ask for it.
6. They know how to have fun even in the most mundane of moments. Grocery shopping, spring cleaning, whatever – they will find a way to make it silly. Even particularly serious things, like a religious service, were (and still are) always fun when you’re surrounded by people that make you laugh and make you feel at home.
7. They’re constantly reminding themselves to be grateful. Particularly when it’s time to leave the nest, you realize that what you miss more than anything – more than your private bathroom and shower, more than your big comfy bed, more than your lack of responsibilities – is the family that you spent every night with. People who are close to their families are always trying to practice gratitude, for something as big as a family wedding to something as small as having one last meal together at the airport McDonald’s before everyone heads back to their separate destinations.
8. They get a lot of energy from the happiness of others. Nothing thrills them more than simply knowing that the people they care most about are happy. And when you can get joy from something like that, you can’t help but feel pretty damn lucky.