Lessons learned growing up with Family that knew little of self-efficacy, responsibility or independence.


Cousins, aunts, uncles – I grew up with the majority of my extended family always by my side.

Anything we did, we all did together.

When I was young, I didn’t see an issue with the excessive coddling. It felt safe, necessary. It was when I reached my early twenties I began to reevaluate all that was around me.

(I trip on expectation and fell into a rut.)

I fell into a rut, not focusing on my academic career, or personal success in general.

I’ve lived my entire life trying to please all those around me. Going as far as always accepting blame in every situation just to avoid further conflict.

I was reminded time and time again, that this was okay, that your family is all you ever need. When you needed any sort of help, family was whom you turned too, regardless of if they were the right person for the job or not.

Slowly, I’ve learned that my family knew nothing about independence or responsibility. This realization came when I became involved with someone my family never met. And now someone that I valued in my life, someone they’ve never met is labeled ‘no good for me’. It wasn’t enough for them to trust my opinion, the child they raised.

I felt as though this reaction came more from branching outside of the family circle. Spending time with people whose conversation engaged me or I looked up to, they were brainwashing me, and again were labeled ‘no good for me’.

I made sure I wasn’t distancing myself from family, but anytime something happened between my family and I, my friends and S/O were to blame.

This outlook I was forced to have on life was almost toxic. It felt like I wasn’t allowed to be my own person or to ask for my own space. I wasn’t respected when I tried to be self-efficient and claim my independence. Self-efficiency held a stigma in my family; that meant you were only trying to distance yourself, or you were better than the next person.

I realized how much this attitude was holding me back. I’m sure anyone can agree adult coddling isn’t healthy. I just felt more confused about what is acceptable.

My mental health was slipping, I tried to approach my family about it only to be told my mental state was self-inflicted because of the people I surrounded myself with.

I lived in the shadows of my older cousins, who never failed to tell me what to think, say and do.

I decided it was time for me to stand up for myself. I kept feeling this low, and it bothered me, knowing that the ones I grew up with, the elders who raised me I now couldn’t turn to.

I realized that I had to do what made me happy. Surround myself with those who allowed me to be self-efficient. Encouraged me to build myself up.

Although this meant I had to distance myself from my family, I knew it was the right step for me. Truthfully, sometimes, you do have to put yourself first. I wish everyone knew this. It’s easier said than done but I became much happier. I felt as if I was free from the limitations I placed on myself.

Sometimes these realizations come from the actions of people you’d least expect. Letting go of the pessimism will change a lot for you, I promise you.

Life is way too short for you to allow others to dictate how you live, as cliché as it may sound. The world is yours to discover. Your goals and ambitions are yours. Simply put, if others cannot support that, then you have some changes pending. Surround yourself with those who encourage and support you. Trust me. I did just that and at 22, I’m much happier.