Evidently due to the presence of a large number of neurons in the cerebral cortex, people live longer and spend a lot more time developing and maturing than other species. As a result, our parents exert great power over our lives. Not only did they bring us into the world, but we spend more or less 18 formative years in their care in the majority or cases. In situations where the parents were present and did a good job, the child benefits greatly. In situations where a parent was absent during those years or did not manage them well, the child suffers. The strong emotional attachment people have with their parents, even as adults, means they are liable to getting hurt, which is also true of any close relationship where a degree of vulnerability is present.
Due to issues in their upbringing and problematic adult interactions, a lot of people walk around with resentment toward their parents. Sometimes it is explicit and open, while other times it subtlety lurks beneath the surface. In either case, it is extremely toxic and damaging to their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Our parents, after all, are supposed to represent God to us. They are our first experience with authority, and they shape our lives in big ways. Some people have experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of their parents. My heart goes out to those people. Most of us, however, grew up with at least one parent who was more or less loving, albeit in situations that were not ideal (because life is not perfect). And we gain additional experiences and memories with our parents, some good and some maybe not so good, during our adult lives.
Today, if you have unresolved anger toward your parents, I invite you to meditate on these 5 truths.
- We are quick to remember the pain people caused us and quick to forget the good things they did for us. All those dirty diapers our parents changed, the times they stayed up late and woke up early with us, the times they took us to and from school and activities, took care of us when we were sick, went through hard times because of us. Most people have at least one parent who gave them a decent shot at life. Today, if you feel resentful toward a parent, think of all the good things they did for you, maybe even things that you have long forgotten about.
- Our parents more often than not did the best they could. Most parents have good intentions. Even the flaws our parents exhibit are often the result of flaws in their own upbringing and life experiences. Even many “parents” who were not present regret the fact that they were not there for their kids. To recognize the factors that led your parents to be the way they are is called “understanding.”
- There are no what ifs in life. Sometimes, we think “I would be here in life, if only my parents had done x or had not done y.” Let me debunk that myth for you right now. The same parents who gave you life treated you the way they did, both the good and the bad. Think of your parents like the weather. You cannot control the weather, you just accept it. It is a given phenomenon. If our parents were any different, we wouldn’t be alive. Again, we have to accept the good they were able to give us with the bad.
- If you don’t like it, change it. As human beings, we have the power to overcome many things. Resentment only exists where healing has not taken place. It is our responsibility to get healed from the things that damaged us in life. The better we are able to do this, the less reason we will have to feel resentment toward those who caused us pain.
- Our parents will not live forever. Growing up, we consciously or unconsciously think our parents will live forever. The proof is how shocking and traumatic the thought, or reality, of losing a parent can be. Tomorrow is not promised. In the great majority of cases, your parents will pass away before you do. When your parents are gone, you want to have positive memories with them you can celebrate the rest of your life. You don’t want to wish you had handled things very differently and live with major regrets the rest of your life. I encourage you to be intentional today about creating positive memories with your parents to the extent you are able.
Honor your father and mother is one of the 10 commandments. We cannot honor those whom we resent. I leave you with a definition of what it means to honor our parents that I found particularly helpful. I actually originally saw it in a Spanish meme.
To honor our parents means to thank them for the life they have given us, to accept and take responsibility for what they were not able to give, to live a worthy life, and to honor their presence in our hearts.Wisdom of the Internet
If you got something out of this article, I invite you to check out. The Story of Absalom: Resentment As The Root of Rebellion