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It is no secret that we avoid the idea that our parents will not be with us one day.
I don’t blame you.
I often have attempted to duck and dodge the idea that my parents are getting older.
They are getting wiser.
They are getting more comfortable and savoring the moments in life more than they ever have.
I appreciate them greatly for that. I respect them so much for what they have done for me.
Yet, I become sad when I think about the number of times the average person goes to see their parents and spend time with them.
For those who do not know Jesse Itzler, Jesse is an entrepreneur and best-selling author of several books. He is known for preaching the concept of building your life resume (I’ll write more on life resumes in the future.)
Here’s this powerful clip from an interview with Rich Roll.
Now that you can wipe the tears away because I know I did when I watched this for the first time let’s dive more into our parents.
I can only answer this question from my viewpoint and provide guidance around what I have learned.
What I have found from my personal experience is the following about why we are not spending time with our parents:
A balancing act of two families for holidays (married and serious relationships, know what I mean)
Busy with Work
Anger and resentment toward them
Regret of our childhood
I’m sure there is much more, but those were the ones that first came to mind.
Number 4 stood out to me as I was making this list. I had that against my Dad for almost 30 years of being angry and frustrated with him.
I had said no to many trips to him outside of the holidays.
I rejected the idea that I could be anything like him and that it would be nothing more than talking only about what he wanted if we were to hang out.
A lot of this projection came from anger and resentment toward him.
Something I held onto for a long time.
And this was the reason I chose not to spend time with him as I wanted. It wasn’t because what I felt or saw from him wasn’t valid.
It was because I held onto blame and anger toward him for my life, and to make him pay; I would not spend time with him.
It cost me a lot of time with him.
Thankfully, our 2020 road trip ended up healing our deepest wounds and bringing a father and son together for the first time in a deeply connected way.
As you look at that list, whether you are angry or resentful towards your parents or not, can you let go?
Can you let go of the past?
Can you let go of any anger and resentment so you can move forward in your life?
Regret was one of my biggest motivators to heal my relationship with my Dad.
I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering if we ever had a chance to have something meaningful.
With the new year upon us, I hope you can find it in your heart to accept your parents for who they are.
For how they raised you.
They had it for how they did the best they could with what they had at the time.
It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it wrong.
It is worth knowing that you have permission to move on because you allow yourself to be free from the past.
This type of question came to me in a season of life around 2020, where I found that to move forward, I had to be willing and able to let go of the past.
I had to accept how I was raised, where I grew up, and how kids treated me. I had to let go of any ill will towards people who did wrong to me. I had to let go of any guilt or shame tied to things I said or did toward people I hurt.
Most importantly, I had to be willing to let go of the biggest weight in my life.
That was the anger and resentment I had toward my Dad.
That anger and resentment was a 30-year battle for me, and I couldn’t be more proud to say it’s gone. I now have the relationship with my Dad I had always wanted and dreamed about.
Learning to let go and forgive is not easy. It’s pretty difficult as it takes a lot of love for yourself and others and a willingness to change.
To start this process for any of you wanting and willing to move forward with your parents, here’s a question to have you ponder.
“Am I willing to love my parents for who they are?”
Your parents are not going to change. Coincidentally, neither are you (unless you are willing), and often, the friction we have towards our parents come from our deeply dug position of rejecting the idea we are anything like them.
The thing is, you are more like your parents than you may consciously know. I know I am more like my parents than I ever could imagine. That does not mean it is terrible I am like them.
It means that not being willing to accept and love them for who they are is not loving and accepting parts of who I am.
So if I am willing to love my parents for who they are, then I am willing to love parts of myself that I inherited from them.
Go see your parents. Don’t even think twice about it. There is still time for you to make up with them if you have friction with them.
My latest book, The Road Ahead and Miles Behind A Story of Healing and Redemption Between Father and Son is available for purchase.
About the Book
A story of a cross-country road trip taken during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Road Ahead and Miles Behind, shares the intricate yet beautiful nature between a father and son looking to reconcile their differences and amend a challenging past.
The Road Ahead and Miles Behind is full of inspiring moments and perspectives that demonstrate the healing power of hard conversations with those you love. It's a story that will remind you it's never too late to have something with your parents.