It’s My Parent’s Fault

therapistIf you were a fly on the wall in any therapist’s office, it’s likely you’d hear a patient talking about how poorly their parents raised them and that this was the cause of their problems today. Hogwash!

Now, before you click off this post and mutter how insensitive I am, hear me out.

How we were parented plays a major role in how we live. Our personalities, our likes and dislikes, even some of our strengths and weaknesses were influenced by our upbringing. But at what point do we take control of our destiny and stop blaming the people who were only doing what they knew to be the best at that time?

I remember coming home with my report card and showing it to my father. I was a good student and usually got mostly A’s. But there was always an errant B hidden in there somewhere (usually gym or science!) and this is usually where I heard a “What happened here?” remark, which would inevitably send my spirits plummeting. “What about all the A’s?”, I’d wonder.

Instead of focusing on the good grades, my dad chose to focus on the opposite. This had both a positive and negative impact on me. On one hand, it made me work harder in my classes and on the other, there was a feeling of not being good enough.

My father’s intention was not to make me feel bad. In his own way, he was trying to get me to always do my best. Did it work? Yes. Was it the best way to handle it? No.

I could spend my remaining days blaming my father for this particular parenting hiccup. I could say it’s all his fault that I’m a perfectionist and have high expectations of myself and others. I could go broke bemoaning all of these events to a highly-skilled therapist. Where do any of these things get me?

Nowhere.

Yes my father and my mother made mistakes in parenting their children. I’m making mistakes parenting mine.  But here’s the kicker – they are not the SAME mistakes my parent’s made. I learned from them and do things differently with my children.

Instead of blaming your parents for how they raised you, how about accepting that they did the best they could do? Take what they did well and pass that on. Throw away what they did wrong and forgive them. In doing so, you will not only set them free, but yourself as well.
report cards
Accepting people for who they are can be difficult. We want people to be who WE want them to be. That’s not possible, and more importantly, it’s not fair. That sibling you have who always monopolizes the conversation or the co-worker who doesn’t pull his own weight, are unlikely to change until they feel compelled to do so. You can either accept them or you can judge them and become angry.

It’s time to let the past go. Forgive your parents, your best friend, your spouse for their faults. Make a decision that you will accept and love them for who they are. Stop trying to change them. It’s impossible.

Focus on changing yourself. As you become less judgmental and more forgiving, watch what happens to the people in your life. I bet you’ll be amazed.

Jen’s Gem: Stop blaming your parents for your mistakes. You have the power to change your life.

 

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