We often realize that as adults we live our lives to make our parents happy. We rarely notice it directly. It happens that uncomfortable questions or emotions or, on the contrary, a lack of emotions alert us to this. Questions we face from time to time are, for example, „Why do I do what I do?“ or „Am I satisfied with my life?“, although everything I wished for came true? Did I even wish for it?”. That’s when it’s time to ask ourselves if we’re really living our own story, or if we’re living a life that our parents would approve of. This realization can happen in our twenties, thirties, forties, fifties… depending on how close we are to our family of origin.
My clients are often surprised when they realize they have been a part of someone else’s story. It is not pleasant to realize that I have spent a significant part of my life trying to please others. But the collision with reality comes at the moment when we are able to see and solve our behavior. When are we ready to discover who we are, what we want and how to live our lives as authentically as possible it is then possible to let go of our parents‘ ideas about our happiness, which often differ heavily from ours .
It is the moment when we finally refuse to constantly fulfill the expectations of those around us and start looking deeper into ourselves. If we have not trampled our emotions, they can be our exact compass: „When and with whom do I feel happy, fulfilled, calm…?“, is the question we will need. Gradually, we begin to add moments, situations and people with whom this is the case and transform our life step by step in our own image. The question of what mom, dad, teacher, friends, colleagues, etc. would say to this gradually disappears and the question appears: „What does it bring to me, how do I feel about it?“
If in the process of coaching or therapy we manage to find the part that was not and could not be nurtured in childhood, we can begin to care for it, water it and nourish it so that it grows and blossoms into a strong, beautiful, often wild plant. By the way, there is a great exercise in developmental creative writing that I sometimes assign to my clients. Describe to me in at least two paragraphs the unlived life of your parents. That is, the life that they would have liked to live, but for some reason could not. Briefly describe your own life. How are these two stories related?
There are many ways to get closer to inner truth: journaling, dream work, therapy, group workshops, coaching. It doesn’t matter what method we work with, because in the end it’s really about bringing to life that part of ourselves that has been waiting to be revealed all this time. It’s about being able to blossom into a complete being. After all, Jan Werich formulated it for us a long time ago: „Once a man already is, he should try to be. And once he tries to be and he is, he should then be what he is, and not what he is not, as often tends to be the case.”