Our relationships with our parents can be complicated. That is why it can be a wonderful idea to talk to your parents about expectations.
I would say that I have a very good and loving relationship with my parents. Of course, there are difficult times, but in general, I couldn’t be happier. Still, there are things that affect me. Knowingly and unknowingly. They accompany us for most of our lives and have a major influence on us as who we become as a person and what we think. I am also convinced that they transfer some of their own fears onto us. Of course, not with intent.
Even if we are able to speak about almost everything, there are topics that I didn’t address and there also things they didn’t address. This lead to me having certain expectations about what they will most likely expect from me. Reading it sounds hilarious, but that’s what it is. I want to give you two examples which illustrate the point.
When I was studying, I had a very difficult period in my life. In hindsight, it was one of the best things that could happen to me, but back then it was hard to cope with everything. I will maybe write an entry about this time, but now is not the right time. Anyhow, it was obvious that I wouldn’t finish my studies in the standard period of study. During this time, I still lived with my parents and they supported me financially, too. That is why I put myself under pressure and I thought that I need to finish my studies as fast as possible to not be a burden to them any longer. One day, I was sitting together with my mother and I told her that it will take me longer to finish my studies. I expected that she might be disappointed with me, but the opposite was the case. She told me that they will support me no matter what and if it takes longer, it is not a problem. I mean it is such a small thing, but back then it strained me a lot and maybe prolonged my recovery as I had to “invest” mental energy to think about their expectations. Speaking to her and knowing about how my parents think about it was a huge relief for me.
The second example is also related to what I “should” do with my life. When I speak to my parents or my grandparents they always tell me how important it is to have a job. Even when you are unhappy with your own job, you should first have something new and not quit without having found something else. At the moment, I struggle a bit with my job and I am unsure what to do. Let’s say the thought of quitting crossed my mind. I also spoke with my parents about it and of course their take on it is that I should find something new first before doing anything. As I value the advice from my parents a lot, it is normal that they also influence my thought and I hesitate what I should do. That doesn’t mean that I blame them. I am the sole responsible for my life and my decisions. It is just that they influence my decisions. Again, we finally had an open conversation addressing this topic. For me it was rather emotional, which showed me how deep and how ingrained those thoughts and felt expectations are. My mother explained why they think that I always should have a job or something new. However, she also told me that I will never meet all of my parent’s expectations. This sounds hard, but it is a wonderful statement. She also added, that it is not my job to meet their expectations. Of course, they will see things differently, but ultimately, they want me to live my own life. She also said that she dares me to do something stupid =) Challenge accepted! =)
I am still not 100% sure what will do next, but it lifted a huge burden from my shoulders. The main take away is that I have to meet only one set of expectations: my own. Most likely, your parents just want the best for you. Sometimes, there advice might not be helpful and might even upset you. But don’t blame them. Ultimately, it is only your own choice what to do. It is your life and you should be self-confident and trust your own decisions. Speaking also to myself: if I fail, I will get up again and try again. Don’t let myself hold back by other peoples’ expectations, no matter how much influence they have on me.
If you have the chance, speak with your parents and address expectations you feel they have and see if it is really true what you come up with in your own mind. Be understanding with them and with yourself. It can bring you tremendous relief.
Have a wonderful day and take care =)