How to love your parents, like, actually, f’real.

Via on Jun 26, 2012

So, this whole concept of being an adult has been a prevalent thematic device in my life lately.

I’m 30 years old, starting to want babies, maybe even a girlfriend first. I’ve been trying not to think about how much I want a home with a dope kitchen and garden. I started a Pinterest account with it all in mind.

I want to make lots of money so I can support great artists and fill my home and world with what they make, and even more money so that I can invest in great companies that help people and the planet. And I want to make all my money in a noble fashion, of course.  Man, the hippie, 21-year-old version of myself would hardly recognize me now.

So, like we do, I’ve been evaluating what I want to keep from different points of my past and what I want to leave behind.

I’ll keep my mischievous spirit for now, but get rid of my worry. I’ll keep my curiosity, but I’ll get rid of feeling like I don’t fit in. Keep speaking from my heart, but lose all the extra words and vagary. Doing this, I am taking a look at who I am in relationship to myself.

But while practicing to remain in that razor state of self and other love that leaves me feeling connected, honest and free, I’m also, inevitably, struck by things that knock me off my balance and show me where I still have to learn. Things like my parents.

So I’ve read that we all create these issues with ourselves based on how we feel our parents should have loved us in the past. So, it seems I’m no exception.

So, I’ve been working on fully, fully, fully, fully accepting the past and my parents for who they are—having a thankful energy towards them for bringing me into this world and for doing the best they could with the resources and experiences they had. I’ve been working there for a while actually. It hurt real bad before, so I’ve kinda had to work on forgiving the past and myself.

Then something weird happened. Over the course of the last few weeks, my take on things began shifting from this mental thought of forgiveness (which was an effort towards forgiveness, I now realize), to me just loving them.

The reason it’s shifting is because I am completely loving myself as I am.

Self-love gives me a fearlessness to go after the future I want, knowing that I have a safety net no matter what, but it also allows me to look upon the past as perfect and okay, and for me to allow others to just be themselves.

So, today this scenario played out: I had been trying to get in touch with my dad for like, weeks. He did call to wish me a happy birthday a few weeks ago, but I hadn’t been able to tell him yet, except in texts, about my new-found writing success. Plus, I also have a few other stories that I’ve been holding back texting, waiting on the right time to share over the phone.

So I just kept calling. Leaving messages every few days. The last few days, every day. But not with a nervous energy. It was more of a— “Hey, I want to share some things. I’ve got some cool stories, things you’ll be proud of. Hope all’s well with you.” Well, in honesty, I think every message was better than the one before it.

And finally today, I got a hold of him. He’s a doctor, and works 70 hours a week sometimes. Super busy. We only got to speak for like, one minute, but in that minute, I got confirmation beyond what I would have dreamed that this way of treating people pays off.

‎I started off by telling him how happy I was to hear his voice. And I apologized for calling so much, hoping I wasn’t bugging him.

“You never bug me,” he started, and I instantly had a tear in my eye. “I’m glad you want to share everything with me. I’ve been so busy, I’m sorry I haven’t answered your calls. I’m in rounds so I can’t talk now, but I’ll call you later…thanks for not giving up on me.”

Thanks for not giving up on me. My God. After we hung up, I don’t know if I’ve ever cried harder. It was like one of those two minute rain storms that just opens up and dumps.

For me, this connection, and this release in me was more confirmation that all you got to do is keep loving. Seek to understand where people actually are right now, to connect, to love. No judging. Well, that’s the practice.

~

Editor: Brianna Bemel

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About Jordan Epstein

Jordan is a lifelong learner, entrepreneur, writer, coach and catalyst. He works with clients seeking to unleash and become their greatest purpose, weaving themes from yoga, psychology, science and startup entrepreneurship. To connect, or for a free one hour consultation, email Jordan at epstein.jordan@gmail.com or find him on facebook.

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18 Responses to “How to love your parents, like, actually, f’real.”

  1. Mamaste says:

    Love this Jordan!
    Just intro'd on FB to: Love, I'm Not Spiritual & Health & Wellness.
    ~Mamaste

  2. jenifermparker says:

    Thanks for this one, Jordan.

    I feel like I've gotten there myself with my parents, and I'm working on getting there with my ILs. It's a tough road, but I did *choose* them after all. I mean, I chose my husband, and when you choose him, you choose them. It's a package deal. I am probably about 75% accepting and loving and 25% raving, ranting, angry, seething lunatic. So, maybe I work on that, huh?

    Thanks for your insights.

    • jhepstein says:

      Haha, that's awesome Jenifer!

      Why do you think the other 25% is happening?

      It's my pleasure, and thank you for your hilarious comment. I want to see your seething lunatic I think.

      • Jenifer says:

        Hilarious and true!

        My ILs have some behavioral dynamics that would qualify as "evil" using the standard of M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie." Here's the wikipedia article about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Scott_Peck .

        On the outside, when the average person meets them, they meet really nice, delightful, good people. On the inside (of the family), it's mostly splintering (I cannot tolerate that I feel bad about who I am or what I did, therefore you are the origin of the bad and unhappiness in my life, because I must be wholly good) and then manipulation to encode that splintering process.

        I have compassion for what my ILs have suffered in their lives, and what they have chosen for themselves (i.e., where they have opted not to get help or work through things, even where they know there is something to work through, such as the abuses my FIL suffered under his father and step father). And, I do honestly see their wonderful, loving sides.

        But the splintering happens even in the 60 minute weekly Skype call (we live on the other side of the planet from them and Skype weekly). Some weeks, it's about 45-minutes of judgment, complaints, shaming, and general freaking out; other weeks it's more like 15 minutes. We do our best to let it "roll off" and focus on the good.

        But when they attack my husband because of their pain, or my son (who is only 4), I get very protective. They can attack me until the cows come home — it goes nowhere. I went through middle school — know what I mean? But honestly, you start to put your garbage on my 4 yr old, and mama gets *angry*.

        So, I gotta work on that, huh?

        • jhepstein says:

          Totally awesome stuff to work with! And by awesome I mean gnarly.

          Yeah we all have to deal with other people attempting to live vicariously through us, to the point that they think they need to be in control or nothing will happen correctly without their help, also people that blame us for their position.

          Perhaps trying a different tactic may be fun. Instead of letting it roll off, maybe try to be "curious, courageous, compassionate and calm" – the 4 characteristics of an enlightened attitude. See if asking questions, calmly, about what the inlaws say in a way that you don't like helps.

          If repeated attempts don't work, anger is always fun to use appropriately, if you can get your ego out if it.

          G/L and keep me posted. And of course, use at your own risk, no guarantee/no liability. ;)

  3. emily sasson says:

    This is great, Jordan! So true and open-hearted… Im still working on it and your words are really inspiring. thank you :)

    • jhepstein says:

      Emily, thank you so much!! It's kinda nerve racking to be that open…UNTIL I get feedback.

      I guess I'm still working on complete self acceptance here too, cuz I still want to be able to help other people, and for my work to not just be self-serving.

      Anyway, let me know how things go… really, for me, it's so helpful to make it all be about how I love myself and talk to myself in my own head.

  4. simon muyinga says:

    Jordan I'm so moved by this……………………its so inspirational,this is GOOD STUFF my friend

  5. Chris says:

    This reminds me of the feelings I went through when I learned, quite suddenly, that my father would have to undergo double bipass surgery. Although my relationship with both of my parents is and has been anything but strained, that sudden shift of focus and explosion of emotion wrapped around how you wish things could have been or what would happen if he doesn't wake up from surgery or oh my god when was the last time I told him that I loved him or the memory of him reading to me as a child or the memory of him holding me when I got beat up or the memory of him giving me water and sitting up all night with me when I was sick or the memory of him spending the night with me in the hospital when I was dying or how he would always say "We'll find a way".

    Love is a very spiny and very important thing.

  6. Genna says:

    My mom just read this and loved it as much as I did. :) great work

  7. [...] Often times it comes from a place of pain that I look at with clear eyes and just keep writing. Or a place of happiness that I don’t get too overjoyed about, I just document. [...]

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