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to make your parents happy

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It’s hard to shake that urge to please our parents. For the first 18 years of our lives (or really, for as long as they paid our bills—which, for some millennials, lasts for a while), we are trained to do what makes our parents happy. They put food on the table, buy us things, and keep us alive and safe for the first formative years of our lives so, the desire to do what they say is ingrained in us. However, eventually, it’s so important for your happiness and overall development to separate your identity from your parents’. Yes, they raised you and they know you pretty well, but at the end of the day, nobody knows you as well as you do. And, furthermore, you have to remember that your parents have their own baggage and trauma that influences the advice they give you, so their guidance is far from unbiased or pure. On that note, here is why you need to stop trying to please your parents.

making your parents happy

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They may not know what’s best for you

Your parents do not necessarily know what circumstances, environment, job, or friendships will cause you to thrive. My mom, for example, has always pushed me to get a regular, 9 to 5 office job, thinking the freelance life might be depressing and unhealthy for me. In reality, the 9 to 5 environment kills my soul, and I feel most happy and liberated in this lifestyle.

making your parents happy

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You must learn what’s best for you

You have to build trust with yourself that you know what’s best for you. You cannot always rely on your parents to tell you that. They don’t know what’s in your gut. They don’t know what it’s like to be you. It’s important, in general, to learn to trust your instinct more than the advice of others. A good place to start is to stop listening to everything your parents say.

making your parents happy

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Nothing will ever be good enough

If you try really hard to please your parents it’s probably because they are really hard to please. So if you’re already dealing with that personality type, then nothing you do will ever be good enough for them. Once you meet one milestone they wanted for you, they’ll just start talking about the next one.

making your parents happy

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So you may as well do you

If you can’t possibly make others happy or you can’t make your parents 100 percent approve of you, you may as well not even try one percent. You will lead a very unsatisfactory life if you keep trying to please others. But, you’ll lead a really happy life if you just ask yourself, “Does this action or decision make me feel proud?”

making your parents happy

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You might be dating the wrong men

If your parents criticisms are often about the men you date, then you may be choosing partners based on criteria set by your parents. Maybe that means you’ll only date men who make so much money or who come from a certain background, because that’s all your parents will accept.

making your parents happy

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You can’t spend your life with the wrong man

So, your parents won’t be the one in your marriage, in your home, or in your bed. It’ll be you who spends your life with your partner, experiencing every moment, from the mundane to the difficult to the fun. Why should you choose someone based on the approval of other people who won’t even be around much?

making your parents happy

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Or, you’re trying to change your man

Maybe you are already in a relationship and you try to change your partner to make him someone your parents would approve of. You push him to make little changes in his job or his appearance, to make your parents happy.

making your parents happy

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You should have his back

If you keep this up, you’ll push away someone who actually loves you for who you are, because you were unable to love him for who he was because your parents didn’t. That’s very sad. You should have your partner’s back. You should be demanding that your parents love and respect him, as he is.

making your parents happy

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You aren’t enjoying your victories

When you do earn certain achievements, you can’t really enjoy them because your parents immediately ask, “Well, why wasn’t it more?” You only let yourself celebrate if your parents celebrate, and they never do because all they see is what more it could have been.

making your parents happy

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And you deserve to celebrate yourself

You deserve to celebrate your accomplishments. You work very hard. You know what went into that, and how many things had to come together to make this achievement happen. In fact, you have to celebrate the small things in order to receive energy and enthusiasm to go after more.

making your parents happy

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You take setbacks twice as hard

You take setbacks very difficult because, on top of your own disappointment, you have to deal with your parents’ disappointment. Their approval means a lot to you so their disapproval basically shatters you.

making your parents happy

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And struggle to become re-motivated

Your setbacks do not actually affect anybody but you and don’t forget that. You should not take on the emotions of your parent’s disappointment—that’s their problem. Worrying about someone else’s feelings over your setbacks is a burden that is so heavy it will break your spirit.

making your parents happy

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They’re not even with you daily

The funny thing about building your life around your parent’s criteria for you is that they aren’t even there to experience your life. How much are they there? Maybe they visit a few times a year or month. Maybe they call you on the phone. They’re barely actually there!

making your parents happy

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But you are with you daily

Meanwhile, you are with you every day. You’re the one who enjoys the fruits of your labor or suffers your setbacks. So it should be you who you are trying to make happy. Really, let your parents’ criticism come in one ear, and go out the other. This is your life.

making your parents happy

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They won’t be around forever

Though it’s sad to think about, the reality is that your parents won’t be around forever. So, think of that day: you will bend over backwards building a life that doesn’t even make you happy for them, and for potentially many years of your life, they won’t even be around to witness it.

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