Perceptions of Our Parents

“The love you withhold is the pain you keep.”

Not all of us love our parents. Some people have parents who have wronged them on infinite levels, with crushing blows to their sense of safety and self-worth.

I happen to not be one of those people. So the following will be from the heart and viewpoint of someone who holds a relatively “good” relationship with their parents…whatever that means…

I heard the opening quote last night at meditation, and it has stuck to me as the most honest reflection of how I have held myself at a distance from my parents for many years. How layers and layers of personal, private pain have kept me from being open- have kept me from being receptive, and have kept me from loving to my fullest.

I would assume that everyone does this at some point- (no matter how close they are to their parents,) We go through turmoil that we are embarrassed or ashamed of, and decide to hold it in… or hide within it. (Often to evade punishment or judgement.) The emotional distance of these actions and reactions fortifies with each occasion, becoming more and more a barrier between our parents and ourselves….And we steadily accept this narrative of us against them as truth, stoking this definitive fire with the excessive gas of independence and ego.

But do we ever give a damn about what they feel?

Have you ever asked your parents how they felt the first time you really fucked up? Have you ever asked your parents how (or if) they will ever forgive you? If they could have ever lived in your shoes? If you scare them? If you bring them joy? Have you ever asked your parents what they would have changed with how they raised you?

If you’re around my age, you’ve probably started realizing that your parents are human beings. (At least, I hope so.) That they hurt, that they fuck up, that they react without thinking, and that they make decisions the best that they can with their own experiential knowledge.

It’s not only up to us to love and forgive our parents once we’ve emerged from the other side of adolescent denial, but to care about finding out who they are as other people who bleed and cry the same as you and I.

After investing time in doing so- I can only recommend trying it out yourself. Stop holding onto those old-ass judgements and criticisms of your parents, man. If they’ve done a lot of shitty things, acknowledge it. But also acknowledge the fact that they’re probably dealing with the guilt of their own actions, just like yourself.

I’ve had it pretty swell in life when it comes to my parents. They’ve done right by me in every way that they could imagine and enact. And they have invested time and effort in trying to understand me as a human being, an equal, and now a woman.

I feel that it would only be fair and certainly humane of me to do the same.

And I’m definitely finding it easier to love them deeper by sharing my pain with them, and experiencing the same reception from them. I hope that if it’s possible for you, that you try it out. It might change not only your perception of your parents, but your relationship with them, too.

May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering.

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