“Maturity is our ability to reject our parents’ values without fear, shame, or guilt.” – paraphrased from John McMullin.
John McMullin says often times we see the world through the eyes of our mother or father.
We hear their voices in our heads judging things, telling us what we can’t do, judging our potential partners, judging our choices of friends, jobs, life paths, and loves.
If we have anger and resentment toward our parents it keeps us tied to their point of view. Instead of forging our own way in life we can get stuck living in rebellion of their opinions. Living our lives through them is just as entangled as letting their judgmental voices sway our decisions to do or not to do something. Rebellion and conformity are equally entangling.
The key is to detach from our tribe of origin in a loving way. We need to believe that our parents did what they thought was best. They did what was best for them, for their conscience, for them to be able to feel they parented well. We will be able to move forward when we can detach in a loving, non-judgmental way, when we can believe that they did what they did in order to live by their own value systems.
If we believe that parents were abusive we can detach when we learn to believe that they did what they could with the resources they had. People who are abusive are suffering. We don’t have to make excuses for their behavior. We don’t have to love their behavior. We don’t have to believe their behavior was good or right. We just have to move on from it and stop living in reaction to it.
Not an easy task.
We have egos. Our egos believe we are owed something. When we don’t get what we think we deserve from significant others we become resentful. We act out. We will repeat our parental patterns with friends or lovers because we learned how to be in relationships when we were little. We perpetuate the cycles of fear and shame that we learned in childhood.
So how do we break the pattern?
We become aware.
We observe our own egos doing their ego thing.
We see our behaviors as ways to find belonging and validation which is human and understandable.
We forgive ourselves.
We refrain from judging.
And here’s the biggie…
We learn to parent ourselves in a loving, non-judgmental, nurturing way.
Learn to parent ourselves??
We need to be our own cheerleaders. We need to love our own decisions even if they don’t turn out optimally. We need to love our own mistakes. We need to love our neediness. We need to forgive Self.
How do we do that?
We can catch ourselves being harsh to ourselves. We can catch ourselves being self-punishers and make a different choice to be more forgiving and kind to Self.
If we’re judgmental of Self we’ll be judgmental of others.
This leads to conflicted relationships.
A life that is solely ego driven is one of confliction and pain.
If we can get into observer-mode we can see ego in perspective and not let it rule our lives with its automatic negative thoughts (ANTs).
Mediation, prayer, Qi Gong, and self talk can get us out of ego mode and into observer mode.
The more time we spend in observer mode the less we’ll get knocked around by the whims of ego.
We’ll recognize when ego is kicking and screaming, demanding that we stay in our familiar ruts of shame, fear, resentment, and alienation. We can recognize, forgive, and make more Self-authentic choices.
That’s what I’m learning.
That’s what I already knew but needed to hear it again, in just the right way at just the right time.
This is what I’m working on.