Your parents are not superheroes. They never were.
They’re imperfect, flawed humans just like everyone else.
They have strengths, weaknesses, talents, hang-ups, blind spots and biases. Your parents are not immune to the numerous manifestations of the human plight. They slip up, they make mistakes and they’re not always right (even though they might have told you otherwise).
If you’re now an adult yourself, coming to the realization that your parents are flawed human beings is necessary for both your own personal growth and the creation of a deeper, more harmonious relationship with them.
The Silver Lining of Seeing Parents’ Flaws
Recognizing that your parents are imperfect and flawed provides you with two beautiful opportunities…
Realizing That Your Parents Are Flawed Humans Creates Space for a New Kind of Relationship
By recognizing the fact that your parents are imperfect, it allows your relationship with them to be deeper and more genuine. Why? Because it allows for vulnerability. Any relationship naturally deepens when vulnerability is shared. Seeing your parents as flawed creates this space for both parties to share their vulnerabilities with each other.
Through vulnerability, more inner truth is expressed and you’re able to more clearly see the essence of the other person. From this place, you can share your deepest fears, highest hopes and dreams, genuine desires and innermost feelings.
Seeing your parents as flawed humans allows for the relationship to be a two-way street. They’re no longer “above you” and there is no command and obey dynamic. This relationship between peers allows you to give to them as well, because they need love and compassion as much as anyone else.
There’s one catch though; both parties have to be willing to be open and vulnerable in order for the deepening of a relationship to take place. So you must first do the inner work. You must be ready, willing and able. And if your parents are ready as well, awesome. If not, remember the old idiom, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. You can provide the space, but the other person has to step into that space themselves.
Realizing that Your Parents Are Flawed Humans Puts You in a Position to Heal
As children, our parents obviously have an instrumental impact on us, for better or worse. Parents essentially set children off with momentum in a certain direction, and it’s difficult to change that momentum once you’re set in motion.
We subconsciously soak up everything we’re exposed to from the time we’re born until the age of six or seven. During this time period, we absorb everything our parents say and do to us like sponges. We also take on their belief systems and models of reality. This sponge-like phenomenon continues throughout the rest of childhood (or even further), but to a lesser extent.
Due to the state of hyper-absorption we’re in as children, we’re bound to pick up some trauma, limiting beliefs and negative habits. It’s inevitable in the world we live in.
If you want to grow into the greatest version of yourself, you must let go of the things that are holding you down. This means releasing trauma and limiting beliefs.
The perspective that comes with objectively seeing your parents as they are puts you in a highly favorable position regarding trauma, limiting beliefs and inherited pain. If you’re able to see your parents as flawed human beings, you’ll realize that they did the best they could (even if their best was extremely limited). You’ll also realize that their words (and actions) aren’t necessarily in alignment with ultimate truth. So if you picked up a negative belief based upon what your parents said to you, recognize that just because they said it doesn’t make it true. It’s merely their opinion (which may very well be skewed and limited). Seeing things in this way gives you a bigger picture perspective, and with this perspective, it’s easier to forgive, let go and not take on any more negativity.
Another perspective that helps is seeing your parents as hurt little children, particularly when they’re possessed by their ego or pain body*. Again, they did the best they could with what they were working with. If you view them as demigods, their actions become final judgments and set-in-stone truths. So if they say that you’re stupid, for example, then you will truly believe that you must be stupid. But seeing them as hurt little children allows you to put their words and actions into proper perspective. Remember, only hurt people hurt people. From here you can meet their negative actions with compassion, instead of resentment or repression.
This higher perspective will help you realize that you can choose not to carry around their pain and limiting beliefs any longer. It’s their pain, not yours. You only have it because you unknowingly inherited it. Let go. There is no need to carry such unnecessary burdens.
*Pain body is a term coined by Eckhart Tolle, which he describes as “The accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose.”
A Quick Note On Release
There are many ways of releasing traumas and limiting beliefs, just as there are many ways of picking them up. However, this is beyond the scope of this article, as the topic of release is a rabbit hole in and of itself.
Remember this though; self-awareness/mindfulness is always the first step. You must first be aware of something in order to change it. This is why engaging in a daily meditation practice is probably the most important thing you can do.
Sometimes awareness is itself the release or solution, sometimes you might intuitively release in your own way and other times you need to use specific techniques or seek the help of an expert in order to release trauma or limiting beliefs.
Bringing it hOMe
Recognize, realize and understand that your parents are flawed humans, just like everyone else. Find the beauty and opportunity in their inherent imperfections. It made you unique, it made you who you are, it made you infinitely stronger than you would have been if you lived in a perfect little bubble.
Even though this article focuses on the transmutation of flaws, don’t forget that your parents have admirable qualities as well. Be grateful for what you do have. Be grateful for how they helped you. And, if you’re fortunate enough to still have them with you, express this gratitude with them.
Meet everyone with compassion. We’re all here to help each other out.
– Stevie P!
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