The way we relate to our parents and family colors everything we experience in our lives.
Now, I try not to use absolutes like every, always, never, because nothing in life is always one way.
But if we use this sentence, “The way we relate to our parents and family is the way we relate to everything in our lives,” as a tool for our own self awareness, it’s pretty profound what you can begin to discover.
One of my clients was telling me that when her Mother gives her compliments or says how proud she is of her, it doesn’t really matter to her.
She said, “It’s nice to hear, of course, but she says it all the time. So all of her kind words tend to not mean very much.
But when it comes to my Dad, he very rarely says he’s proud or acknowledges what I’m doing and so it means a lot when it comes from him.”
Then she went on to say that the other day she placed this great picture of herself on Instagram, and she received so many amazing comments from her friends but all she wanted was a “like” from a guy she just recently broke up with.
Now this is totally normal, especially when a part of our intention in posting something on social media is to grab the attention of someone specific.
However, I asked her, “Do you typically diminish or not really take in compliments from women?”
She said, “Yeah I guess that is true. When girlfriends compliment me it’s really nice to hear, but I don’t really take it in.”
I said, “But with men, if they say something positive, affirming, or validating does that mean a lot to you?”
She said, “Yes. When a man gives me positive feedback I feel so loved, adored, and validated.”
I said, “Can you see the lens you have? The way you relate to your parents is the same lens that’s being used for how you take in and receive love.”
She said, “I never really understood why I put so much emphasis on men or a partner being someone that I turn to to feel good. After my recent break up, I missed having his feedback or his validation and I just thought it was a worthiness thing. So, what do I do now?”
I said, “When you invalidate the love that your Mom is expressing to you, as ‘she’s my Mom and has to say that’ or anything else you might think, then put more emphasis on your Dad’s words and expression, that’s what gets created.
What you want to do is place the same level of importance on how both Mom and Dad show their love; where one isn’t better than the other.
Start by consciously choosing to make your Mom’s way of expressing love matter. That could be taking a deep breath in and saying thank you to your Mom when she says she’s proud of you, and allowing it to hit your heart.
Or it could be by shifting energetically. Close your eyes, and feel how you can now allow love from Mom and Dad equally.
Another way is to emotionally connect more and more with your Dad, so it doesn’t feel so “rare” or “special” when he compliments you.
It could also be the way your Mom is expressing her love isn’t how you need or want it. Meaning you may feel heartbroken about something, and she says you’re strong, you’re amazing, you can get over it. Meanwhile what you need to hear is “everything’s going to be okay.” So, asking for her to express her love that way can help.
There is a process I support people through in The Parent Work™ to really help them receive love from both parents equally.
Use this tool “The way we relate to our parents and family is the way we relate to everything in our lives.” What do you discover?
I would love to hear. Reply in the comments below and tell me all about it.