If you want to create a working, supportive relationship with another, it is imperative that you be willing to be complete in the relationship you have with your parents. The dictionary defines complete as “lacking no component part; full; whole; entire.” But what does being incomplete with your parents mean? It is when you are looking to prove them wrong or right for what they did, or didn’t do, or when you endlessly search
for their weak points.

When you reference how you are living your life in comparison to how your parents have lived their lives and to what they did or didn’t do for you, then you are incomplete. If, for example, in your opinion they were either there too much and smothered you or they were not there enough and you felt abandoned and misunderstood, these are symptoms of being incomplete. One way or the other, your source of identity is
in relation and reaction to your parents. If you are saying that your parents are responsible for the way you relate, then you are incomplete with them.

We have seen many adults who were children of highly successful people be failures in life and relationship because they wanted to prove to their parents that their parents did it wrong.

Any time things started going too well, these people would sabotage the possibility of their own success. Being right was more important than being happy. The aversion to being like one’s parents is nondiscriminatory; you can’t just pick and choose the parts of them you don’t want to be like. If you are trying to not be like them, you will avoid even their “good” traits.

You can’t be yourself if you are avoiding being like one or the other of your parents, because then you are not living your own life. If you are resisting your parents, or going for their approval for that matter, then that relationship will persist, and each action you take will be filtered in a nanosecond through your idea of how they would do things rather than simply being yourself.

If you are still blaming your mother or father for the way you are, you will be handicapped in your ability to have a fully satisfying relationship. Your relationship to your parents is your archetypical relationship to men and women. They did not do it wrong. They were just living their lives as best they knew how, and you happened to be born into that family. Your parents probably didn’t take any courses on parenting or on how
to have satisfying relationships. Neither did their parents—nor theirs. Until recently, probably within the last fifty years, there weren’t any classes in parenting or relating. The way people are is the way they learned to be in the families in which they grew up. And, more than likely, your parents did the best they knew how to do.

From a child’s point of view, your parents should have done things differently. Children’s perspectives are centered on themselves and on what they want. They cannot take into account all of the complexities of earning a living, having to relate with other people, and being responsible for the well being  and survival of the family. Children, by definition, have an immature and limited perspective of reality and can filter day-to-day events only through how these events affect them and their desires, preferences, and wants.

At a young age, you made decisions about who your parents were and then have held those decisions over time as though they are true. Most people don’t realize that many of their opinions were formed when they were in a childish temper tantrum or contraction many years ago.

Either you can dwell in the events of the past—real or imagined— or you can include them and move on. This is the Second Principle of Instantaneous Transformation: Either you can be dedicated to reliving the past and trying to fi gure out, change, or blame others for what happened, or you can live your life including but not being dominated by those past events.

A fellow came to see us who considered himself an adult. According to the story of his life, he had survived his painful childhood. But his interpretation of the childhood he had survived came from the distortions and misrepresentations of a child’s mind.

When people are preoccupied with their internal conversations about their childhood, they become paralyzed and ineffective. Their lives become a series of investigations into why they act the way they do and what caused them to be “screwed up.” There is a pitfall in rehashing one’s life. It is paradoxical: On one hand, it is laudable to investigate those things that seem to inhibit productivity and well-being. But on the other hand, this same investigation can keep you lost in looking to blame something or someone outside yourself for how your life is showing up. When this is the case, then you will keep going back to thinking, If I had a different family, then my life would be different, or If my parents didn’t get a divorce, then I wouldn’t have trouble
in relationships.

There comes a point in each of our lives where there is an opportunity to actually take control. Taking command of your life requires putting both hands on the steering wheel and going forward. If you are addicted to looking at your past to determine your future, it is as though you are driving down the road looking in the rear view mirror to figure out what turns are coming up ahead. Then you wonder why your fenders are so dented by life. To take control, you have to let go of your past and be with what is rather than blame things on the history that came before.

What we are suggesting is that there is a possibility outside of the psychological interpretation in which your life is determined by pivotal events that happened in your childhood. If one chooses to use a psychological model, then those past pivotal moments determine one’s life. This means that there is no possibility to ever recover from those events. There is available to humanity, at this point in time, a paradigm shift from cause and effect to “isness”—from a psychological paradigm where our lives are determined by events in our past to a transformational approach where things just are the way they are, not because of some prior event.
This is another example of the Second Principle of Instantaneous Transformation:No two things can occupy the same space at the same time. You cannot be living your life directly if you are already preoccupied with figuring out why you are the way you are.

You can either be actively engaged in your life or thinking about your life.

You cannot do both simultaneously. If you are living your life directly, you discover the possibility of true satisfaction and well-being, a sense of security and capability. As a result, you stop worrying about whether or not you are “doing it right,” if other people would approve of you, or even if you would approve of yourself.

Most of us don’t look at our lives as though we are scientists. Usually when something happens that we don’t like, we do not go back and investigate the precursors to that event. We don’t look at what was said or done that led to the eventual trouble. So it appears to us as though the other person unreasonably
got upset, and we rarely look at our part in the matter of how that person responded to us. What did we do, or not do, that set him or her off?

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