BY: MICHAEL LEWIS
There is a huge generation gap, between our parents’ generation and ours. I don’t just mean temporally. I mean emotionally. Our parent’s generation, for the most part, is from the time where deep discussion was rare. Issues were swept under the proverbial rug and placed out of sight, with the misguided belief that they will casually disappear into the abyss of life.
Unfortunately that rug becomes lumpy with stuffed remnants of spiritual debris and overtime runs over into the surroundings if not cleaned out once in a while. If the past issues aren’t dealt with, respected and honored rather quickly, they will reincarnate and shape shift into entirely different issues all together. For the most part, our parents are/were baby-boomers, and their parents were the Traditionalists from the depression era. Our grandparents (the traditionalists) were survivalists who came from the fears of World War 1 and World War 2, The Korean War and The “Great” Depression. They lived in a time where death was on high alert! It seems if they weren’t worried about dying in war, then maybe they were fearful of starvation and homelessness from the depression.
Therefore, feelings unfortunately became second to survival. Just as you have inherited many characteristics (Some good and some not so good) from your parents, your parents inherited the same from theirs. Why does this matter? As we evolve as humans, our evolution of spirit evolves too and we become a bit more fastidious in our requirements for life. We are realizing that we need more than just superficial connections to keep us going.
Deeper, intimate connections fertilize our soul giving rise to the flowering of spirit.
Without them, we cease to grow.
So what do we do when our desire for deeper connections from our family of origin isn’t met? It’s a tough pill to swallow when you come to the realization that you probably will never get what you wanted because they aren’t capable. Just ask them for something deeper and they will give you the answer outright: “I’m doing the best I can!” Believe it! They are telling you where they are in the moment and this is imperative to your growth because our resistance to accepting our family for their short-comings will stunt your spiritual growth in your tracks. We want to believe they can be better (what we think is better) because they are smart, intelligent human beings, however, they are a product of their past and their priorities are different than yours. Hear them and stop resisting the facts. I’m not saying it’s easy, because behind our disappointment, is anger and sadness. And behind those feelings, we have to deal with the most difficult of them all. Grief? What grief?
The death of the hope that things will ever be different.
Once we truly realize that we see things differently from our parents and find acceptance in their place in life, you will find that we are not so different – we express our inner dialogue and they suppress it, but they still feel. Isn’t it time, we find some peace within us? As a man, it’s difficult because we tend to fly solo and not ask for help. I have spent multiple years in therapy, and many a night in weeping contemplation on why my needs aren’t getting met from my family. Why won’t they just step up? Aren’t I worth it? They are better than this! They can do anything! If I can do it, they can, right? Then I woke up – spiritually speaking – because the suffering was too much and I knew I had to find acceptance by not resisting what was in front of me.
I was living my life at the mercy of resistance. I put myself in a stranglehold squeezing the life not only out of me, but my marriage, my happiness, my satisfaction and my spirit. I saw everything that was important to me falling to the wayside like trees toppling over as if they were being chopped down at their roots one by one. By the time they fell, the damage was done. My marriage was teetering, my family was in limbo, and I was more dissatisfied in my-so-called-life than ever before. Fortunately, I was (and still am) with an amazing woman who could weather that storm and see beyond the obvious issues my pain and sadness were causing in our marriage. She held me up, challenged me, asked questions and loved me. She didn’t make it about her or mistake my sadness for apathy towards her. She was patient. Letting go of resistance allowed me to accept my nuclear family as they were without needing anything from them anymore. I was finally free from the self-inflicted chains that kept me suffering, and once released, I was able to find the true love for myself that was missing for a long time. This not only saved my marriage, but allowed me to reconcile with my parents again.
It took me years, because I had to do a lot of soul searching and work to clear my own feelings of low self-worth. Though I still struggle at times, I was able to transmute most of my grief into acceptance once I was able to embrace the one ingredient that was eluding me for years: Compassion.