Let’s get some stuff out the way upfront. I’m not saying they don’t love you. I’m not saying you are not important to them. Although there are some people who feel that way (children of parents who don’t love themselves). What I am talking about is the compromises and sacrifice people make to their own happiness in order to try to please others.
To be fair, I could have just put ‘people’ in the title instead of ‘parents’, but I see kids getting caught up in this often, especially younger people emerging into adulthood. You can shave years of unhappiness off your life if you really understand what I’m about to share.
Let’s start by looking at the two versions of ‘you’. Everyone on the planet comes in the same way, we have talents, traits and perhaps intentions. We also know our worth. There is no question when you look at a newborn whether they know how worthy they are, you feel immediately that this child expects the world to meet its every need – now!
So that is the unadulterated version of you. It’s the version you can feel into when things in your life are humming, you have clarity, you feel a sense of ease mixed with a surge of energy, and anything seems possible. For some those moments are completely foreign, but we have all had them, however fleeting. There are also ways you can learn to tap into them more often, meditation being the most effective if it’s practiced regularly.
Then there is that other version, the only one that many of us actually recognise. The one that emerged as you grew, out of the expectations and (usually) well meaning your family, community and society placed upon you. It takes us about three 7-year cycles of learning to think as an ‘adult’ does – the first cycle is spent on simply trying to get your little body to function in this physical space, the next is invested largely in your emotional development, then in your teens your rational thinking mind starts to develop.
This is simply to give context to the fact that we (as adults) often talk to our youngsters, and place expectations upon them, that they simply cannot meet. Forcing them to retards their development. In the very earliest years of their life, children are learning through imitation and experience. Those experiences are not interpreted in the same way we would interpret them in our rational minds.
Instead, an example I often give, is a child who repeatedly witnesses their parents fight over money – depending on the child’s natural traits and the other experiences it is having, it may interpret that in many ways, from “relationships are bad” to “money is bad” and others in between.
That is a tape that gets stored in the subconscious mind, attracting further experiences throughout life to reinforce it. Okay, so that is the basics. There are two versions of you, one is clear minded with talents, traits and intentions for your life, the other is created through experiences and runs the default subconscious tapes in your mind 90% of your day… until you become aware of it.
Once you become aware that only perception is reality, and that your perceptions have been based on what everyone else wanted for and of you, you have the beginnings of an awareness that can empower you to move your life in a different direction.
Back to the topic at hand then. Let’s say you are an aware parent, great, you will likely start to look at the whole process of child rearing through very different lenses. Recognizing that this little person you have brought into the world, or are responsible for bringing up in this world, is closer to their natural sense of who they are than you are to yours.
And here is the point of all that. When you are in tune with who you really are, you feel good. When you feel good, you attract more of the same. It’s not that nothing bad ever happens, it’s that you see it through new lenses, with a broader perspective. You take note and thank the runny nose for its very real alert that you are doing too much right now. You take note when you have a near miss on the road, as I did this morning; it’s awake up call to something in your life.
In short, you seek ways to feel good more often, it becomes a priority. You start to see ‘bad’ things in your life as welcome, they point to “wrong way” in your life’s intentions in very obvious ways when you learn to read the signs. It gives you clarity, and allows you to open up to the natural coincidences and synchronicities that are always unfolding towards your highest good.
Our children have much to teach us, if only we could get out of their way. I can assure you if my own kids were capable of lending an aspect to this article they’d say “yes, when are you going to get out of our way mum?” All I can say is that I am practicing. I know that the minute I offer any resistance to their natural flow of wellbeing only bad things happen.
You will notice that it’s our own fears that introduce the possibilities of negative outcomes into their sensory experience. Left to their own devices, in their natural flow of wellbeing, they could cross a 5-lane freeway unharmed – but what rational thinking parent with all our fears would?
Our minds are a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing because they are our creative clay, it’s our thoughts and intentions that create our reality and you just need to be more conscious about it.
So, for those of you who have stuck with me to this point, here is the point. Parents are people too. We have, as a society, been largely operating in a very unconscious way when it comes to all this ‘crux of life’ stuff. If you have parents who feel very conditional in their love for you, it’s what is considered normal. But I’m here to say it’s not natural to our wellbeing, and it’s not only unnecessary, it’s harmful.
No person who has ever lived, nor ever will, will ever be truly happy if they rest that firmly on the shoulders of another. You cannot control another person or circumstance enough to ever find true happiness. Children you can never be ‘good’ enough to make your parents happy, you can never alter the conditions of your life enough in order to please them into their own bliss, it is not possible, stop trying.
The irony is that most parents reading this would agree that all they want, in the end, is for their children to be happy. Immediately on the back of this will flow 4,086 opinions about what is necessary for that to be achieved. Of course, parents do know you well, but they are not you. They cannot save you from having your own experiences.
Sure, we would like to wrap you up in cotton wool and keep you from all the bad stuff, but what would be the point? Seriously. Without a depth of experience in the darkest emotions, what depth can be found in joy?
The only thing any of us have to offer another is inspiration. And the only way to inspire, is to reach consistently for the good feelings that flow within us if we let them.
Last week I heard the most poignant statement I’ve ever heard “when you are free from your reaction to things you cannot control, you are truly free” (Abraham Hicks). Parents take heed, you cannot control how your child feels about anything, and none of us have that power to assert in another’s life. In fact, the only thing you can control is how you feel right now, in this present moment.
Let’s stand back from the details of our children’s lives, and – as children – let’s not worry so much about pleasing your parents as pleasing yourself. It’s time for us all to be less worried about others and on the fruitless effort of controlling circumstances and conditions, and focus more on finding our own wellbeing in this moment and the next. This is where our best future lies.
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