If you’re reading this, you probably also had strict parents who always tried to please you because they thought it was the right thing to do.
But as happy as it made your parents, how did it make you feel?
There are many reasons why we behave this way as children.
Sometimes it’s because it’s a way to feel loved or good enough, or because we just want our parents to be happy with us.
We may also be afraid of getting into trouble.
I had a very religious upbringing and was taught that obedience was “the right thing to do.”
On my fifth birthday, my parents bought me a cassette player and a cassette tape (yes, I’m that old), and the tape had all these religious songs on it.
I still remember one of the songs! It went; “OBEY, obey your father and mother. OBEY, it makes them very happy.”
And as much as it made them happy that I was doing everything they wanted, I was missing some essential life lessons.
As I became a young adult, I slowly began to break away from being the “obedient child” and find my own way.
As I did that, I discovered such positive results. Here are 7 of them.
1) Personal growth
Have you ever seen a robot think for itself?
Can they solve problems without anyone else’s help? Do they have initiative?
If we do what someone else tells us all the time, we pick up a lot of robotic tendencies.
My mother always talked about me using my initiative as a child.
I didn’t realize what this was and how to use it until I got older and became more confident to be myself.
By making the mistakes I was never allowed to make as a child, I was suddenly able to learn from them. This created this initiative that I had never had before.
I started to become more confident and self-aware, two things I wasn’t as a young girl.
I was the little one who cried when she messed something up because she thought she was going to get in trouble.
As a young adult, I started to deal with my problems and was okay with making mistakes because I could learn from them.
Growing up in a religious household, we were told what to think. From birth I was told this was the right way to live.
So as a child I believed everything my parents told me. The thought that there might be something else never occurred to me.
Self-discovery can be difficult because not everyone will think you are doing the right thing.
I still find it difficult to be honest with my parents about my journey because even as an adult I still fear that I will disappoint them.
But finding myself, what I like, what makes me happy, and having the space to think and decide what I believe has taken me to the most amazing places.
I no longer have to pretend that I have the same values, passions, and interests as my parents.
Now I am free to pursue anything I want, and the freedom and happiness I get from it is like nothing else.
3) Increased self-confidence and creative expression
As I said before, I was not a very confident child. Afraid, anxious, silent.
How many of you can identify with that?
It turns out that’s not my personality at all, but I masked the real me so that my parents and teachers were happy with me.
But I wasn’t happy with that version of me.
I lacked confidence in anything I did because I was afraid I had done something wrong and disappointed someone.
Have you ever felt that before? It’s not a fun way to grow up.
When I was twelve, I started a new school and decided the day before I started, “I don’t want to be shy anymore.”
It started there. However, I had to learn to be confident, so I watched and imitated people who I thought seemed outgoing, and the rest is history.
I still struggle a bit with creative expression because it wasn’t valued in my family.
But I’m working on it. The more you try things, the less you care what other people think, and the more creative you become.
4) Building resilience
Did anyone really find it difficult to stand up to other people growing up?
My trick was to be super nice to everyone so that everyone liked me and I never had to experience conflict.
Yes, my coping mechanism was a doormat.
I don’t know about you, but I would never describe a doormat as resilient.
I had created a world where I had as few challenges as possible, so that I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable and so that I wouldn’t fail.
Slowly, as I started to walk my own path, I faced challenging situations.
This was difficult at first because the only arguments I had had were petty ones with my younger sister.
But with time and practice, I learned the word “no,” and learned how to deal with conflict instead of running from it or making excuses.
As I began to master these life skills, I felt not only freedom, but also strength and confidence.
5) Improved decision-making skills
As you can probably imagine, robots aren’t very good at making decisions because they just follow their programming.
Have you ever felt like you did that too?
Maybe in your youth you were patted on the back for following the rules, which showed that, like that robot, you were following your parents’ programming.
Once you start doing your own thing, you’ll find your decision-making skills get a bit of an upgrade.
Good decision-making skills are essential in life.
They allow you to navigate the twists and turns and help you create a path that feels unique.
From choosing career paths to deciding what makes you happy, these skills can turn possibilities into reality.
It’s not just about choosing A over B; they are your compass, guiding you to a life rich in adventure, self-discovery and the satisfaction that comes from piloting your own ship.
6) Ownership of choices
Have you ever had to make a lot of choices and just couldn’t make a decision?
Do you find it difficult to think about what you want? Did you grow up in a family where you felt bad asking for or wanting something?
It wasn’t until I was 30 that I understood why I could never make a decision when faced with many choices.
My brain was trained not to want it.
That wanting more or wanting things for myself was bad.
I worked with a therapist who asked me to write down three things I was grateful for and three things I desired every day.
Writing the thank you notes was so easy. I could and would write a page of it.
But desires, these were difficult.
If you’ve never been asked what you really want, or if you’ve been trained to dream small, it’s very difficult to make your own choices.
This desire practice was amazing for me, it transformed my thinking and rewired my brain to realize that I am allowed to want things and that it is a good thing to go for what I want and make choices that will make me happy, not just everyone else.
How empowering is that?
7) Fulfillment and satisfaction
Last but certainly not least, once you become your own person, you can begin to feel the satisfaction and fulfillment of who you are living your purpose.
Maybe you’ve been pressured into a career your parents wanted, but you’re not happy in it.
I had a good friend who was expected to go to college and get a good job.
She became an accountant.
I’m not throwing any shade at accountants, we all need them, but she wasn’t happy, it wasn’t the job for her.
My friend had chosen this path to make her parents happy.
One day, in her late twenties, she did what many people have always wanted to do: she went to India and took a yoga course. It changed her life.
She came back home, did the hard work and found a job teaching yoga that she absolutely loved.
I remember the glow on her face as she told me the story and how fulfilled she felt.
How by going her own way, she had felt satisfied like no other.
So are you going to continue your life as a robot because it makes other people happy, or are you going to break out and… find your own happiness?
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