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Day 19. Honoring Your Parents
On day 19 of the 30 Days of Positivity Challenge, we'll talk about honoring our parents.
This can be a touchy subject for some. You may be spending your holiday without Mom or Dad, or both. If so, please feel free to skip this exercise if it's too painful for you.
Some people grew up without a mom or a dad. For them, maybe it's a Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, or other stand-ins parental figure(s) who took on the tough job of raising them. In this rumination, you can spend time formulating good thoughts for the person or people who helped shape who you are today. We'll just call them Mom or Dad in this exercise, to simplify things a bit.
If you had the good fortune of being surrounded and supported by parents who were as close to perfect as is humanly possible, then celebrate Mom and Dad for everything they were and are to you.
Exercise: Honoring the Truth about Your Parents and How They Influenced the Person You've Become
When you think of your mom, what words come to mind? What kind of woman was she, as a mother to you growing up?
• Was your mom a soft-voiced person who took care of everything from a quiet place in the background?
• Was she a bit of a dramatic figure who wasn't afraid to express her opinions? Did Mom rule with an iron fist in a velvet glove?
Whatever your mom's personality, we all have those "parent tapes" that play in our heads any time we're faced with a challenge.
Some people joke that there's a devil on one shoulder, and an angel on the other. But really, the person's voice whom you probably hear in the back of your mind during all your decision-making is your mother's, isn't it!
So what types of things did your mom say?
Do you say those same phrases to your children now if you have kids?
What did Mom say that you liked to hear? What other things did she say that may have bothered you, and why?
Whatever your Mom said, she must have done some things right to help you grow into the fine person you are today.
So today, for just a little while, think about the job your mother must have had to take on while rearing you as a child. Be grateful for the ways your relationship with your mother has influenced you positively.
Even if some episodes with your mother stood out as being more negative than positive, look into your own personality and explore how relating with your mom has caused you to behave in certain ways in your adult life.
Surely your mom has influenced the choices you've made, by what she did and said or even what she did not do or did not say. That's something to be grateful for.
Repeat this exercise for your dad. At certain times and during certain activities, you can probably hear your dad's voice making strong suggestions on what to do, or perhaps just chiming in with a running commentary.
• What types of things did your father say to you growing up?
• How did his remarks, instructions or admonishments make you feel?
• What actions did you take (or not take) based on the influence of your father?
• What was Dad good at doing? What did you enjoy doing together?
Be grateful for having had a father, or a father figure, to help you gain insights into the person you wanted to grow into. Be grateful that your Dad had a hand in who you became.
Set aside a half-hour or more today, to pen some good words about your mom, dad, or both. If you're a parent, write about the things you plan to carry forward thanks to the way your parents raised you.
If you had some bad experiences being parented by your mother, father, or both, then try this. Recognize your mother and/or father as being human and fallible. Know that they only had so much to work with - the self-esteem that was given to them (or denied them) by their own parents, or parent figures.
If you had trouble relating with your Mom or Dad when you were young, or even now, try to think of them as just another set of people instead of assigning them this larger-than-life hero role that sometimes we feel our parents should be to us. You can even write them a letter expressing how they made you feel. (You don't have to send it - this is meant to be cathartic.)
If your parents did wrong by you, forgive them for it. Doing this will set you free, and open the door to positive experiences.
You don't have to be best friends with your mom or dad. (But if you are best friends, then that's great!)
If your parents did right by you, then be grateful. Tell them thank you for doing the best they could.
May You Be Well