If you’re reading this, you probably also had strict parents who you always tried to please thinking it was the right thing to do.
But as happy as it made your parents, how did it make you feel?
There are many reasons why we act like this as children.
Sometimes it’s because it’s a way to feel loved or good enough or we simply want our parents to be happy with us.
We might also be scared of getting into trouble.
I had a very religious upbringing, and was taught that being obedient was “the right thing to do”.
On my fifth birthday, my parents bought me a tape player and a tape (yes I’m that old), and the tape had all these religious-type songs on it.
I can still remember one of the songs! It went; “O-B-E-Y, obey your Mom and Dad. O-B-E-Y, it makes them very glad.”
And as much as it made them very glad that I did everything they wanted, I was missing out on some vital life lessons.
Once I became a young adult, I began to slowly break away from being the “obedient child” and find my own way.
As I did, I found such positive outcomes. Here are 7 of them.
1) Personal growth
Have you ever seen a robot think for itself?
Can they solve problems without the help of someone else? Do they have initiative?
Doing what someone else is telling us all the time means we pick up many robot-like tendencies.
My Mom used to go on about me using my initiative all the time when I was a child.
I only realized what this was and how to use it as I got older and became more confident in being myself.
Suddenly by making the mistakes I was never allowed to make as a child, I could learn from them. In turn, this created this initiative that I had never had before.
I began to be more confident and self-aware, two things that I was not as a young girl.
I was the little one who cried when she messed something up because she thought she might get in trouble.
As a young adult, I started to tackle my problems and be okay with making mistakes, because I could learn from them.
Growing up in a religious household, we were told what to think. From birth, I was told that this was the correct way of living.
So as a child, I believed everything my parents told me. The thought never crossed my mind that there might be something else out there.
Self-discovery can be hard because not everyone will think that you’re doing the right thing.
I still find it hard to be honest with my parents about my journey because even as an adult I still worry about disappointing them.
But finding myself, what I like, what makes me happy, and having the space to reflect and decide on what I believe has taken me to the most amazing places.
No longer do I have to pretend that I have the same values, passions, and interests as my parents.
Now I am free to pursue anything I like, and the freedom and happiness I get from that is like nothing else.
3) Increased confidence and creative expression
As I mentioned before I was not a very confident child. Scared, anxious, quiet.
How many of you can relate to that?
As it turns out, that’s not my personality at all, but I masked the real me so that my parents and teachers were happy with me.
But I wasn’t happy with that version of me.
I wasn’t confident in anything I did because I was worried that I might have got something wrong and disappointed someone.
Have you ever felt that before? It’s not a nice way to grow up.
When I was 12 I started a new school and decided the day before I started, “I don’t want to be shy anymore”.
It began there. However, I had to learn how to be confident, so I watched and mimicked people who I thought seemed extroverted, and the rest is history.
I still struggle somewhat with creative expression because it wasn’t valued in my family.
But, I am working on it. The more you give things a go, the less you care what other people think, and the more creative you become.
Did anyone else find it really hard to stand up to other people when they were young?
My trick was just to be super nice to everyone so that everyone liked me and I’d never have to experience conflict.
Yes, my coping mechanism was being a doormat.
I don’t know about you but I’d never describe a doormat as being resilient.
I had created a world where I had the least amount of challenges possible so that I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable and so that I wouldn’t fail.
Slowly as I started walking my own path, I began facing challenging situations.
This was difficult at first because the only battles I’d faced were small arguments with my younger sister.
But with time and practice, I learned the word “no”, and I learned to deal with conflict instead of running away from it or using excuses.
As I began to master these life-skills I felt not only freedom but power and confidence too.
5) Enhanced decision-making skills
As you can probably imagine robots aren’t very good at deciding because they just follow their programming.
Have you ever felt like you were doing that too?
Perhaps you also got a pat on the back for being a rule follower when you were younger, which showed you were following your parents’ programming, just like that robot.
Once you start doing your own thing, you may notice your decision-making skills will begin to get a bit of an upgrade.
Good decision-making skills are essential in life.
They empower you to navigate the twists and turns, helping you create a path that feels uniquely yours.
From choosing career paths to deciding what brings you joy, these skills are what can turn possibilities into reality.
They’re not just about picking A over B; they’re your compass, guiding you toward a life rich in adventures, self-discovery, and the fulfillment that comes from steering your own ship.
6) Ownership of choices
Have you ever been presented with many choices and you just couldn’t make a decision?
Do you struggle to think about what you want? Did you grow up in a family that made you feel bad if you asked for or wanted something?
It took until my thirties to understand why I could never make a decision when presented with many choices.
My brain had been trained to not want.
That wanting more or wanting things for myself was bad.
I was working with a therapist who asked me to write down 3 things I was grateful for and 3 things I desired each day.
Writing the gratitudes was so easy. I could and would write a page of those.
But desires, these were hard.
When you’ve never been asked what you truly want, or when you’ve been trained to dream small it’s very hard to make your own choices.
This desire practice was amazing for me, it transformed my thinking and rewired my brain into realizing that I am allowed to want things and that it’s a good thing to go for what I want and make choices that will make me happy not just everyone else.
How empowering is that?
7) Fulfillment and satisfaction
Last but certainly not least, once you become your own person you can begin to feel the satisfaction and fulfillment that you’re living your purpose.
Maybe you have been pressured into a career that your parents wanted, but you aren’t happy in.
I had a good friend who was expected to go to college and get a good job.
She became an accountant.
I’m not throwing shade on accountants, we all need them, but she wasn’t happy, it wasn’t the job for her.
My friend had chosen this path to make her parents happy.
One day, in her late twenties, she did what a lot of people have always wanted to do, she went to India and did Yoga training. It changed her life.
She came back home, put in the hard work, and found a job teaching yoga which she absolutely loved.
I remember the glow on her face when she was telling me the story and how fulfilled she felt.
How going her own way had made her feel satisfied like nothing else.
So, will you continue your life as a robot because it makes other people happy, or break out and find your own happiness?
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