Be Gentle With Yourself
We can learn from anything by paying attention
I was watching an anime yesterday. The story was simple. The father is a spy who has to infiltrate a school in order to get close to his target. But he doesn’t have a child that will attend the school, so he can’t get in, and that’s when he decides to adopt a daughter. After many ups and downs, they finally manage to get the daughter admitted. The family is happy, and the father takes his daughter in his arms while she smiles to her ears.
Why is the father happy? Is it because of his daughter’s efforts to get admitted? Or, is it because he can move closer to his target? The right answer is obviously the latter. Yet, he still takes his daughter in his arms, and celebrates her, which makes her very happy. She received validation from dad. She doesn’t know about her dad’s agenda. She doesn’t care too. She just wants to be loved for who she is.
He’s happy for one reason, she’s happy for another.
And to keep receiving his love, she will live according to her father’s expectations, regardless of how logical or not they are.
Within each one of us, this child still exists. Our parents have been conditioned by their environments. Different things make them happy or miserable. Some parents are happy when their child is smart. Others care more about their child being strong. Some parents just want an ego boost from their child’s appearance. And so on.
Parents are human beings. But that’s not how kids perceive them. For children, parents are the ultimate role models, regardless of how healthy or unhealthy their psychology is. That’s why kids swallow everything their parents say, whether or not it has a logic to it.
I know parents who would urge their kids to be independent/find a job/marry by boasting about their early life achievements. Those are the same parents who can’t move out of the couch to do themselves a cup of coffee. Yet, for their kids, the emotional pull beats any sense of logic. We don’t think about what our parents say. We just accept it. We grew up like this. This pattern is part of the deeper layer of our unconsciousness, which dictates our conscious reasoning.
And it puts a lot of pressure on us. We develop unhealthy expectations for ourselves. We forget that even if we’re not married, or without a job, or still seeking our purpose — it does not make us less of a human being.
Ignorance creates unnecessary suffering in the world. Irresponsibility especially. Children are growing up too soon. We all have our lessons to learn regardless of the roles we play. And if we want to make the world a better place, it starts with us — how we behave, how we think, how we feel, how we react. It starts here, it starts now. The next time we want to put pressure on someone, let’s ask ourselves why we’re doing it. The next time we feel melancholic or angry, let’s observe the feeling before it gets thrown on someone who didn’t deserve it.
How many expectations do you have from yourself? According to what unrealistic or broken standard are you trying to live? You’ve matured now. You don’t have to think or behave according to someone’s expectations.