I just got back from visiting my folks this weekend and I was dealt a humongous dose of realisation – my parents are the primary source of my self-doubt and fear of making something of myself.
It then dawned on me that although they were the source of the bulk of my failings, they were by no stretch the reason.
Let me explain.
I’ve been spending quite a lot of time with my folks recently ever since my mum got cancer. I’ve never really had a strong bond with any of my family. That’s not through any of their doing mind and they have always done everything they can to provide me with everything I need.
My bond with my father is a funny one and I guess it’s quite a common one being a child of the ’80s. My dad struggled with emotion and was (and still is although to an extent) an angry person. He always avoided talking openly which is what probably contributed to his breakdown when I was an early teen. My mum was very unhappy and is something I always remember from very early on. That said, I know they both loved me and still do to this day.
Thankfully, since their retirement and me maturing more, we have got to know each a great deal and is something I couldn’t be happier about.
I have always been a fairly secluded person for as long as I can remember. My ability to form bonds is something I have shied away from since as long as I can remember. This could be partly due to my upbringing and part due to being bullied heavily between the ages of 4 and 16.
I’ve grown up to be a stronger character than I used to be although this is a daily battle nonetheless. My ability to build myself up has occurred from a constant need to better myself by looking after myself physically, learning, self-reflection and training in self-defence. This, in turn, has brought about respect for myself that grows with every bit of effort I put into it. But it’s a daily battle that I must continue to conquer.
This weekend I noticed how my parents spoke to my daughter. Although with every best intention at heart, I realised their language and direction was something which I hadn’t noticed in the past and made me realise why I was afraid of trying many new things and facing the world head-on.
Truth is and like I mentioned, they were doing it with the very best intentions to look after her and keep her safe. Yet throughout the weekend, most conversations ended with my parents describing why they wouldn’t or why my daughter shouldn’t attempt, try or face pretty much everything. I was shocked when I realised it. And I realised it was from my parents own fears why they were telling her to avoid most things in life. To stop experiencing and take the ‘safe’ option whenever possible.
This made me realise how important language is when it comes to most things. It allows us to tell stories, build empires, lead and educate. We use it to form tribes and build trust with others. Our words can protect us when we need to take a stance and stand our ground. It allows us to be strong in adversity. We can use it to explain to our children that the world is theirs for the making and to explore every venture possible. We can use it to excite and inspire passion within our children so that they can get the best out of their time on this earth (and beyond given the growth in space-race companies forming and competing). It’s our primary tool to form the world around us for us and those we meet and care for.
Or, you can use it to strike fear amongst others. To bring about pain and destruction to people undeservedly. To induce anxiety and anguish. Or simply use it to shatter peoples dreams and hopes. Try explaining to a child to always play it safe and never explore the realms of possibility and watch their faces ooze with fear and disappointment.
It’s this language that I realise is the root of most of my fears and why I have in the past done everything in my power to avoid conflict, shy away from potential and withdraw myself from facing the world head-on. It’s down to the language my parents used when raising me.
It’s the source of many of my problems as I’ve failed to embrace the unknown and venture into the unknown through fear of failure and pain.
However, it’s not the reason. Let me explain.
As we grow and develop (something which we must never stop doing until the day we die), the responsibility lies with us to widen our horizons of possibility. The obligation passes from our parents to ourself to take control of who we are and what we can achieve.
I see so many people explain the reasons why they are ‘failing’ in life (everyone’s idea of success is personal) and blame others for their disadvantages. However, that simply isn’t true.
Sure, there are external factors that get in the way and there are many obstacles and reasons that sometimes get in the way. However, it is solely our burden to deal with those obstacles accordingly and keep moving forward regardless of what we endure.
Life is a spectacular and unique occurrence while also being painful and a burden at times. We all experience pain, trouble and turmoil throughout our years of existence and playing the victim doesn’t sit well with me, nor should it with you. It’s only your potential you are stealing from.
Look, I know it’s hard at times. But it’s also fucking amazing at times IF we choose to seek and embrace those moments.
Not only that, the better you become at dealing with bad situations, the better you become at helping others do the same and this creates perpetual growth as those around you grow with you. We are all in this together and we must get our shit in order and help others do the same as this provides a better world for both us and future generations that we chose to bring into this world.
The point I’m trying to get at here is this: it’s excruciatingly important to use language that not only educates our children but triggers passion and excitement within them. We have to ensure that they avoid playing it safe and seek out their true meaning and purpose as they grow and flourish into open-minded souls that seek to find their true purpose in life.
We all have different paths and ideas of what brings about meaning. That’s not what I’m saying here. I’m simply outlining that it’s not up to us to dictate who our children should be. It’s merely our responsibility to provide them with everything they need to find their purpose.
Don’t mould them into your insecurities. Provide them with the opportunity to thrive by talking openly with them and being honest, humble and with passion.