As children our biggest desire is to please our parents. We make choices that make them smile and laugh, and stay away from choices which make them angry and upset. This is a great learning tactic, and helps keep us away from danger. As we grow older we are ideally supposed to develop a strong sense of independence which allows us to eventually break away from parents pleasing, towards pleasing yourself.
Of course this separation is a nasty one for both parents and the young adults. This stage is known as rebellion. It has a terrible negative connotation for misbehavior and awful disrespect and hormonal attitude. I believe this rebellious stage is key. If it is dealt with wrongly children are left confused and lonely, if it is stifled, they will eventually explode in the future or live a life they are unhappy with.
There is no book with directions for parents, each child is different. As long as unconditional love, not fear, is your guide, your children will eventually find their way. I can’t promise that, but I do believe it. Because it is in our DNA to please our parents, many children do not complete the independent process. As adults they are still making choices based off the smile or frown of their parents. For an extremely long time this was me. I knew I was loved deeply, but I still made decisions based off how I knew my parents would respond emotionally. This was a choice out of love, but also a choice out of self preservation. I did not want to feel shameful for disrupting the status quo.
As we transition to adulthood we must begin making choices for ourselves. Yes, we want our parents to be proud and happy, but our happiness must come first.
Why? Because this is our life, and we are the ones living it.
Sometimes, many times, our values do not match up exactly to the people we care for most. Being able to stand your ground, and express what you believe and desire, while listening to wisdom from their personal experiences, and then deciding what you want is the ideal process. There are also times where your opinion will look vastly different than your parents/loved ones, and in times like these you must remember that you are your own person and whatever your choice you need to be responsible for your actions. No matter what happens, own your choice. If it blows up in your face, there is no one to blame but yourself. These are the moments where you need to be open to learning.
As teens we believe we have all the answers, but the reality is we do not. Our lives are not even half of what out parents have been through and learned. But when we are in our 20s and 30s this is the time to create your own path. What is the life you will be proud of? If you want to be a lawyer do it, but if you only desire to be a lawyer because that is what you have been told your whole life you need to do… find what you are actually passionate about. Some of you are blessed enough to have your dreams align with your parents dream and you can work as a team to accomplish it together. But even if that is in alignment there will still be other areas where you will need to choose between what makes you happy and what makes them proud.
Its time to define yourself – who you desire to be and forget who you should be. Our lives are so short, if you believe you have a calling or a gift then chase it. Do not throw it on the back burner in hopes it will sort itself out. Chase your dreams and make it happen. You are your own individual with your own path. Follow it!