Why You Should Stop Trying To Impress Your Parents
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.