SELF-PITY IS NEVER HELPFUL

Just like little baby birds eventually fly from the nest, our children grow up and seem to literally fly away from home.

Just like birds, they often don’t have many thoughts about what they are leaving behind.

Just like birds, our children probably don’t remember a lot of the tools of life we gave them to help survive on their own.

Unlike birds, we humans have very sophisticated brains that cause us to have opinions and emotions that cause all sorts of complications in our relationships with our adult children.

When baby birds fly away, I don’t really know if they have anymore contact with one another or not.  But because of having such a small primitive brain, mama and papa bird just start the routine again of mating, nest building, egg laying and hatching their eggs. But there are no opinions or emotions to get in the way of carrying on with their lives.  I’m betting some of their previous young became great nest builders and some failed. But this doesn’t interfere with having a productive life.  They just move forward with their purpose in life to survive, eat, and lay eggs.

Humans, because of our capacity to feel, can often get stuck in the emotion of self-pity when are children are making poor choices, especially when your friends’ children are making wise choices.

Self-pity in the Oxford dictionary is defined as excessive, self-absorbed, unhappiness over one’s own troubles.

Self-pity may show up as 

  1. Embarrassment: what are others think about me
  2. Disappointment:  I taught them better than this
  3. Self-righteousness:  I know what’s best; I need to help fix them
  4. Fear:  Life is going to be very difficult for them

Just when our children need understanding and a listening ear, we are “self-absorbing”.  We become so focused on our needs not being met and our expectations not being fulfilled that we lose interest and focus on what needs our children have.

It may look like they are doing what they “want” to do without a parent to stop them, but they have a “need” to do what they are doing.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out what that need is?

We need to learn how to have a loving conversation with them where our only agenda is to understand.

When did you begin having thoughts about doing this?

How does it make you feel when you do this?

Tell me more.

I believe all that my Church teaches us is the way our Savior would have us live.  I believe it is the surest way to happiness, but I also believe in agency.  People who think differently are going to have different feelings.

My obligation as a parent was to rear my children in righteousness, teach them the teachings of Jesus Christ, and to love them unfeigned. 

Their agency allows them to do whatever they want when they become an adult.

When we start having pity for ourselves for the choices are kids are making, we are being self-righteous, we are not following the teachings of Jesus Christ, we are not unconditionally loving them.

Translated, we are not seeing the deity in our children, we are judging their behavior, we are putting conditions on our love for them.

If we are feeling self-pity because of our shortcomings of our behavior, we just need to feel and process that feeling for a bit.

But if we’re feeling self-pity because we’re making our children’s behavior mean we weren’t good parents, we need to give equal airtime in our minds of why we were good parents.  We need to move from feeling pity for ourselves to feeling compassion for ourselves.

Can you answer yes to these questions?

  1. I taught my kids right from wrong.
  2. I showed my kids I loved them the only way I knew how.
  3. I did my best.

So, you passed the parent test.  Could we all have doe better?  Probably.  But we did the best we knew how at that time in our lives.

Self-pity leaves us stuck and suffering.

Compassion moves you forward to loving your children in the way they need right now.

Your child is having experiences that he/she can grow from. Yes, they're maybe some painful consequences, but don't rob them of figuring out things for themselves. There are lessons for you to learn from these experiences also. Don't miss out on learning them.

You can never love a child too much.  Love will always win.

I can help you.  I can help you learn how to connect and repair relationships with your adult children in a way you never imagined possible.

Click the tab below to sign up for a free, 60-minute consult to find out how.

hello world!
Schedule A FREE 60 Minute Consult

If you would like to receive my weekly newsletter enter your details below...