I am a 25-year-old adult. As much as I’d like to call myself an independent individual, living my adult life to the fullest by making my own choices, I have to admit that I still seek my parents’ approval. It’s not that I want to. I have to due to years and years of conditioning.
A few days back, I had to go to visit a couple of my friends in a nearby town. Before I could say ‘yes’ to the plan, I had to spill the beans to my parents. It was as though I needed their validation to feel fully confident to leave the house. It got me thinking – ‘Why do I need to seek their approval for everything?’. After all, I am an adult and with age, comes the freedom of making choices for yourself. Right?
Truth be told, we all have faced this issue. Still do. Subconsciously, we’ve been taught to respect our parents no matter what they say or do. Be it our career choices or the partner we get married to, we end up seeking our parents’ approval. And when they nod a big no, a sense of disappointment and a feeling of uneasiness creeps in within us. We’re trapped in the dilemma of making a choice and getting validation from our folks. Have you felt this way? Share your feelings in the comments below because hell yeah, I want to know if I’m not the only one.
We’ve been ingrained to think that our parents have sacrificed a lot for us. Not denying that they haven’t. But, this feeling has its own consequences. It’s a feeling of returning the favour for their sacrifices. Only if there was a word for it. A lot of us have managed to live up to the societal expectations of our parents, but there is an equal set who wish to take the path less travelled because it’s what they want, and not what their parents want. Such a stressful situation, I know!
Let’s take a classic Malayali scenario. Your parents want you to be an Engineer. But deep down, you know that you’re not cut for it. You would, in fact, love to do pursue a Creative Designer career. What do you do? You are most likely going to do Engineering to avoid disappointing your parents, and then pursue the career you wish to. You give a token of satisfaction to your parents – “See, I did what you wanted. Now let me do what I want”. Very rarely, do we put up an act of a rebel and fight against all odds to do as you wish, and what you think is best for you.
Balancing the act of making your own choices versus keeping up with your parents’ expectations becomes difficult. You end up doubting yourself, your choices, and your own expectations of yourself. But the one thing we’re so sure of is that we may end up being unhappy ourselves.
Your love for your parents shouldn’t be blinded by their validation or approval is what I am trying to say. Sure, they would be extremely happy if you live by their rules. But, if you want to stay true to yourself, you need to be able to project the true you. It’s hard. I know because I’ve been there. Your parents need to learn to let go of you so that you can learn to live life all by yourself. You should learn to create a space for yourself just so that you know that your validation is all you need.