Many of my clients face a common issue. They are living a life they feel trapped. When I was listening to the song “We Are Family” reoccurring phrases from some sessions flashed through my mind.
“I can’t change my situation because of my children. I have no time because of our children. We don’t do anything together anymore because of the children. Our marriage isn’t what it has been because of the children. When the children are out of the house I/we will do this or that.”
Isn’t that scary, and provocatively questioned, is that the truth?
When we act like this, we sacrifice our life and our happiness for the sake of our children, so they have a better life. Now, that’s a very unselfish thing to do many say.
Do we have to give up our own dreams when having children? Do we lose our right to a fulfilled life with daily routines that makes us numb? Where does that leave our marriages? What happens to the love to our partner? Is the money, we believe, we need to make solely dominating our life and our children?
Aren’t we rather afraid of change, living our own dreams?
Aren’t we rather taken hostage by our own upbringing, by the values we have been hammered in for decades?
I believe we don’t even question that our children might look for different things in us, love, time, lots of time, rather than distractions that are so manifold offered right now. We give them love but we also give them a lot of what we learned and what we have been brainwashed by society: distractions and superficial values.
Further we give them a wrong example and most probably we lead them to a viscous circle. What is it they see? They see their parents slaving away to compete with the Jones’s. Seeing their parents giving up their own dreams for their upbringing. But they don’t get asked!
Maybe they choose a different life?
Maybe if we teach them the real values of life they will be able to compete in the world on an even better level?
Do we really believe our children would choose our own unhappiness for their upbringing?
Finally, they will probably end up with the same unhappy life and marriage because that’s what they see. That’s what I call a vicious circle.
Worse case, when some parents getting older, they expect a payback from their children for their sacrifice. Sometimes this comes subconsciously, sometimes very reproachful. They know the triggers they have to push with their children. Selfishness stands in the way of the children’s growth. Parents can be jealous if the daughter or the son makes more money, chasing their dreams, as they envy the braking free from the mould and old style thinking.
First it starts with awareness. Awareness, when we realise we are not living the life we want to live. Secondly, we need to figure out what it is we want, what’s the dream? Thirdly we need to share it with our children. They are smarter than we think. Often they aren’t as brainwashed as we are. Their thinking comes from their heart rather than their selfishness. Fourthly, we need to action change. Most probably not abrupt change, managed change, in context with the family life. Thereby we teach them life’s possibilities and encourage them to chase their own dreams. We give then values like love, gratefulness, self esteem, self love and care, mindfulness.
By no means, I am asking you to live a life out of context. No way! Take a bullet for them. Encourage them to live their dreams, be there when they fail but don’t lose your life’s calling over it. Otherwise there will be no progress in life and progress needs disruptions to happen.
I leave you with the second verse of Sister Sledge’s song “We Are Family”:
Living life is fun and we've just begun
To get our share of this world's delights
High, high hopes we have for the future
And our goal's in sight
We, no we don't get depressed
Here's what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won't go wrong, oh-no
This is our family Jewel
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