Make your parents proud

Following a recent conversation I had with a friend, I realized the extent at which many of us would go, trying to please our parents. From achievements in education and career choices — some contrary to what one really wishes to make, to altering physical appearance, and even the selection of a lifelong spouse, the wish for approval is as strong as the most powerful drive for success.

We, humans – introverts, extroverts, rebels with and without a cause, all seem to have a deeply rooted need for being praised by our fathers and mothers. It goes hand in hand, though on a slightly different route, with the desire to be accepted. I trust that even most rebels, had a time in their lives when they sought appreciation, and, being deprived, turned onto a seemingly opposite path; only seemingly as ultimately it is still driven by craving attention. For some people, a different force may have been at play — they were pounded with so much attention, disguised as love, that they took a defiant stand. To borough from Chinese terminology: too much yang leads to yin.

That need for parental approval can be disastrous in multiple ways:

  • Some parents, due to their own forbearers never loving and accepting them as they are, will never give that approval to their own children, thus continuing a vicious cycle of denial.
  • For the children of such parents, they can spend a lifetime of frustration in an attempt to please, never being rewarded what is rightfully theirs.
  • This would possibly become even worse, if and when the parent is deceased prior to imparting their loving appreciation. That leaves one with the impossible task of pleasing a ghost.

As an offspring I sort of got lucky. This may sound awful but with my father passing on while I was still a teenager, followed by my mother shutting down, losing interest in life for several years, I didn’t find myself needing to please anyone, let alone make them proud. Life serves us with a dish, mine included the loss of a parent earlier in life, but, as I mentioned in another post in this blog, every downside has an upside. For years I ached the loss of my dad, felt sad at missing not only really getting to know him, but also enjoying his guidance and wisdom. Yet, on the upside, I avoided the parental approval trap.

As a parent I strive to accept my kids as they are. I find it mostly easy as I really have great kids. Being that I have always been a nomad and a life explorer (still am,) whatever my children choose to be or do, I expect to support. Yet, I know that despite whatever I will say or do, they will still seek my approval, and that it is not up to me to rid them of that nasty habit. When I think of this, I remind myself that it is not my life; it is theirs. If they so choose to go on a wild goose chase, it’s a lesson they will need to learn. I will watch, likely frustrated, much like others may have watched me making my growing up misguided choices.

Learned from: conversation with a friend and personal observations.

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About Ronen

Ronen Divon had been walking spiritual and holistic paths for well over thirty years. Born in Israel, educated in New York, and currently residing in North Carolina, Ronen had traveled the world, spending time with teachers, masters, healers and guides. With wisdom that spans multiple traditions, including the Far East, India, Israel, Brazil, Peru, and Native America, Ronen remains a student, learning and adding modalities that will best serve his clients, each according to their own unique needs. Ronen is also a published author, a Yoga, Meditation, and Tai Chi instructor.
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