What if you could turn back time and speak to your parents when they were children themselves? Do you know what their hopes and dreams were back then? Do you know what they wanted to do with their lives?
Our parents and immediate family are the largest influence on our lives. They are our first teachers and role models. During childhood we learn to look at the world through their eyes and their believes become a large part of the way we perceive life. This perspective molds us, creates our belief system and in a way programs our minds leading us to the choices we make later on in life. We make key decisions based on what our childhood consciously or unconsciously taught us. We become to a certain extent a mirror image of our parents and family members.
Our life´s journey takes us from childhood along a series of choices and experiences to adulthood. We become not only responsible for ourselves but also, through our chosen work, responsible towards others. We become mothers, fathers, caretakers, teachers, colleagues, engineers, scientists, managers, politicians… and some of us even leaders of corporations and governments. We become role models and teachers ourselves. We start transmitting our own belief system to those we hold a responsibility to. Like an ever-growing wave we build society through these teachings.
I wonder how many of you who are reading this are perfectly happy with your lives? How many of you encounter challenges? How many of you blame those challenges on your childhood? Have you ever caught yourself thinking arguments similar to the following?
- “If only my parents would have pushed me more, then I would have studied harder and would be earning more money”
- “If only my brother would not have been so jealous of me, then I would be a more confident person not trying to please others all the time”
- “If only my father would have shown his love and pride of me more often, I would be a more confident person”
- “If only my parents would have been more open-minded and less judgemental, I would find it easier to build relationships with others who are from a different background than I am”
- “If only my mother would have taken better care of herself, then I wouldn’t be such a pushover.”
- “If only my father wouldn’t have worked so hard and spent more time with me, then I would feel less of an urge to impress him and instead chose a healthier work-life balance for myself”
- “If only ….
I believe that we all think such arguments more often than we care to admit. But in doing so we forget 2 essential TRUTHS:
- We are ultimately responsible for ourselves and therefore have the power to allow positive and dis-allow negative external influence into our lives, and
- We forget to ask ourselves the reasons behind why our parents and family members acted the way they did and sometimes still do.
What if I told you that there is a way you can overcome your challenges and grow a closer relationship with your parents & co? The key to doing this is to remember the 2 TRUTHS above.
Firstly we need to break free from any negative old programming and take full responsibility for our own beliefs, our actions and the resulting experiences we go through in life. We need to re-program ourselves by analysing the reasons behind why we do things the way we do them. There is always a reason behind every decision and resulting action. These reasons are always tied to a combination of beliefs and emotions. If your reasons are tied to negative emotions such as fear, worry for yourself & others, guilt or insecurity then please look again. Try to understand the root cause of your emotions. Once you have identified try to base your future decisions on positive emotions. You will see that not only will your beliefs change but also your experiences and interactions with others.
Secondly we need to change our perception of the past. In our minds we view our childhood as if it was a fixed picture. But in doing so we are building up assumptions and are being judgemental about our parents and those who influenced & taught us. We can change this picture by answering the question to TRUTH no 2. above. We need to remember that our parents & co were once children themselves – children of parents who taught them their own belief system. We need to remember that even if it doesn’t seem that way, our parents & co based all their decisions & actions towards us out of their best intentions but based on their programming.
I believe there are always 2 ways of interpreting someones motivations. The 1st way is assuming the other person wishes you harm and the 2nd way is assuming the other person acts out of good intentions. For example, lets consider again the 1st argument from the list of examples above:
“If only my parents would have pushed me more, then I would have studied harder and would be earning more money”
- You could believe your parents didn’t push you because they didnt care enough, or
- You could believe your parents didn’t push you because they grew up in an environment where they were taught that love and affection must be earned and is not given freely and unconditionally. You could believe that your parents were worried about repeating this pattern and instead overcompensated by being “too” soft.
How can you find out the truth? By not assuming or judging and instead by asking questions and listening. By opening up a unbiast channel of communication you can change your perception of your parents & co and your past. By understanding the reasons behind why they acted the way they did and sometimes still do, you can close the generation gap and see them as fellow human beings continually learning in this school called life.
Now some of you may now be thinking: “Why should I make such a big effort asking my parents & co about their past? They are old, stuck in their ways and will never change.” Well, I can tell you from experience that asking questions has an amazing effect. You see, as you start a communication channel you start influencing and teaching your parents. As you ask questions and listen, they start analysing their own lives and when they do they may just start understanding the reasons (the programming) behind their beliefs and actions and by doing this they may just eliminate any negative influences from their own past. And this may just result in a much improved relationship between yourself and your parents & co.