Why do you live your life for your parents?by Jake Smolarek
When we are young, we all have big dreams. We want to grow up to be a firefighter, a ballerina, an F1 driver, an actor, perhaps even a pop star or an Olympic athlete. But more than anything, what we want is to make our parents proud. This desire continues to develop as we grow up. Our parents are our role models, our providers, and support system; naturally, we want to please them and make them proud of us.
But what happens when this goes too far? What happens when your parents' dreams begin to influence your own, so you stop making decisions for yourself and start making decisions for them?
Unfortunately, I've met lots of people who made choices based on their parents' hopes. They ended up taking jobs they didn't choose simply because they knew it would make their parents happy. I've had bankers, lawyers, doctors, and accountants with big salaries ask me why they feel dissatisfied and disappointed. Looking at their lives from the outside, they appear highly successful; they are qualified, with a six-figure income, they have a nice house, drive an expensive car and take exotic holidays. But they aren't happy. We focus so often on money and financial success, we forget that happiness is more important than success.
When choosing a job, we sometimes forget that we have to do that job every day for years. If you choose a job based on your parents' dreams, you might make them happy, but after a short time, you'll be making yourself miserable. If you love being a lawyer or a banker, then you may be able to make yourself happy and your parents proud. But for many, we have to choose between what we want to do and what our parents dreamed for us. You have to create your life and your future, don't let anyone else choose it for you.
From my experience working with plenty of successful but unhappy clients, many of them actually blame their parents for coercing them into choosing a career they did not want. Nine times out of ten, trying to please their parents and make them proud actually led to resentment and blame. In the long run, you have to choose your own life and live it for yourself. If you don't, you'll end up miserable and blaming those you care about for your feelings of unhappiness.
But what can you do if you've already started a career that you don't love? You can change. If you find yourself stuck in a job that doesn't leave you feeling fulfilled and proud of your work, you can make a change. It doesn't matter if you're 25, 45 or 65, you have to choose your life. Listen to your intuition and your gut. Your parents might want the best for you, but what they think is best for you may not actually be the best. Earlier I stated that happiness is more important than success. But having worked with clients seeking happiness, I've found that success and happiness go hand in hand. When working in a fulfilling and enjoyable job, financial success follows.
The happiness we feel knowing we have made our parents proud is outweighed a thousand times by the satisfaction of doing a fulfilling job. You have to live and choose your life; otherwise, you'll spend every day wondering and wishing for a life you could have had. No matter how far down someone else's path you've already walked, you have the ability to start making decisions for yourself. You're here, reading this, which means you've already made the first step and started to take control of your life. Get in touch, and I can help you make the choices you need to be truly happy.