Growing Pains

Be good, get good grades, have nice friends, don't take drugs, go to a renowned college, get a well-paid job, find a handsome man, have a family, always be helpful and kind to neighbors and strangers, keep a clean house, keep a cleaner garden, never complain. Do guys get that too or is it just us girls? What did it feel like for you to carry somebody else's expectations on your shoulders? Trying to fulfil somebody else's expectations is like aspiring to a sense of perfection that is not your own. I said it last week and I'll say it again, we are all individuals with different tastes, different styles, different preferences. It lies in our nature to try and understand things, thus we find ourselves simplyfying complex situations and looking for best possible answers. In terms of people, I agree that e.g. the personality Type distinctions are very helpful, because as individual as we are, we also do have many things in common. What I'm trying to get at with this, is the elusive middle line between acknowledging similarities and accepting differences.

All of this applies to adults, naturally. With children, that's a different story. When they're small, it's the parents' job to teach them right from wrong and raise them to be the best they can be. When they're very small, they're so helpless you have to do everything for them. But what about when they grow up? When is a good time to start looking at kids and respecting their own personality?

When you were young, at what age did you want to be taken seriously? When did you discover your sense of self? When was the first time you rebelled against what your parents taught you, not because you wanted some drama or look cool in front of your friends, but because you simply disagreed?

I am not trying to join ranks with all the much more able writers of educational guidelines. I would just like you to remember what you felt when you were growing up. I think it's only the next generation who will come to enjoy the benefits of aware parents, of parents who allow themselves to think back to how they were raised, and who are not afraid to question it. More often than not, we simply repeat behavioural patterns that we've learned as a child. Aggression, emotional blackmail, screaming - if that's how your parents dealt with uncomfortable situations, chances are, so are you. It's what you've seen all the time and you know that it works, because you always played along when it happened to you. The only way to break the cycle is to become aware and make the conscious decision to change.

As a child you do anything in your power so as not to lose your parents' love. You learn that you have to conform so they don't get angry or ignore you, when you should be receiving unconditional love. As an adult, you cannot expect unconditional love no matter what you do, because you are responsible for your actions. Still, it is important to embrace yourself the way you are. There's always going to be people who won't like you as much as others, and it's not your job to please the whole world. Nobody is perfect, after all. However, it's not too late for us if we accept ourselves for who we are. And we're certainly still in good time to raise our children with the unconditional love they need in order to grow up to being emotionally healthy, balanced adults, who don't waste time trying to bend over backwards to please others, but are happy being their perfectly imperfect selves.

Have a good one!