Recently, my son came to me full of anxiety and said he needed to talk. Usually, whenever something is bothering him I can see the buildup of anxiety over the course of the day. It was 9p.m. on a Saturday evening. We sat on my bed, he looked at me and with all the nerve he could muster up he said, “Dad, I want to stop living a parent centered life. I want to stop doing things just to make you and mom proud of me. I want to start doing things that make me happy. I want to have fun. I need to start living a principle centered life.”
My chin hit the floor! I was in utter amazement at what I just heard my 14 year old son say to me. I looked at him and all I could do was tell him how proud of him I was that he had the courage to come to me and say that. At first, I beat myself up a little. I went through those thoughts of …wow, have I been that pushy of a dad that I made my son feel like he had to make me proud of him? Then I thought what a courageous thing to do. Not to mention how proud I was that we put him in a position that he felt comfortable to be able to come to me with this heavy on his heart.
Doing things just to make your parents proud of you is normal as a child. But as you get older most people still look for acknowledgement. We start doing things just to get an affirmation or an acknowledgement. We, as adults, do not do what we really want to do in fear of what others might say or think. We do things because we want to be liked. The more we do that the more we bury the gift of who we are supposed to be deeper inside ourselves. We go on living our lives behind a false self mask.
Being true to yourself or being your true self is an up at dawn, down at dusk task. Every day, we must get out of bed and be willing to die of our false selves and fight to be our true selves. When we do that we are truly living a principle centered life. I equate living a false self life to living a parent centered life. My son taught me a valuable lesson that day and for that I am sincerely grateful. So, I must ask myself each day, am I living a principle centered life or a parent centered life? Am I doing things to make others proud of me or am I being true to myself? Am I doing things to be liked or do I wish to be respected?
Until next time…