Do You Really Know Your Parents?

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Two years ago, after studying abroad for a year, I came back to Italy and started living with my parents. Again.

With no job and little money, it was a convenient choice for me, even though I wanted to live on my own.

I focused on the perks of not paying for food and shelter, and I started planning my career to leave again as soon as possible.

It didn’t quite worked out as fast as I thought it would, so — travelling aside — I ended up staying more than 2 years with them.

But it hasn’t been as bad as I initially thought it would be. On the contrary, it has been an incredible gift 🎁, and not because of rent or other practical perks:

In the last couple of years, I finally had the opportunity to get to know my parents for the first time.

Let me explain what I mean.

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As children, we don’t really get to choose our parents.

If we are lucky, we have two of them and they are willing to take care of us.

Our main goal is pure survival, so we unconsciously develop an emotional attachment to them to be in their proximity to be taken care of.

We start following their leadership, assuming that they know what is best for us. We see them as adults, people who know how to deal with things in life, and we don’t really question their judgment.

Then we grow up, develop our personality and go down our own path.

We start living on our own, maybe even thousands of kilometers away from our parents.

From the outside, it would seem that we are independent from them. And we might be, on a practical level.

But from the inside, on an emotional level, are we really independent or does the voice of their authority still runs in our head?

How much our parents judgement still unconsciously influences our behavior? How much the choices that we make? Our ambitions? Our relationships?

For many people, a great deal.

In the last couple of years, I had the opportunity to observe my parents from very up close:

I observed how they manage their relationship, how they spend their free time, how they form their point of view. I’ve observed how they behave with their friends, colleagues and their own parents. I’ve observed how they deal with change, how they think about the future, how they face challenges. I’ve observed their habits, their beliefs and their values.

I observed my parents beyond the veil of authority.

And I discovered an incredible thing:

My parents are simply two human beings with their own limits and fears.


Truly understanding this, it has been both disappointing and liberating for me.

Disappointing because for so many years, more or less consciously, I’ve been looking up to my parents as role models, giving them the responsibility to guide my life choices.

In fact, among the many things I’ve observed, there was my desperate need for approval — especially from the strongest authoritative figure between the two of them — in my case, my mother.

Even if I had my own ideas about life, and very different values compared to them, I realized that I was still seeking validation and asking for permission to make my own choices.

Emotional attachment is a thing.

It’s subtle, it’s invisible and it’s mostly unconscious..but incredibly present in our life, especially towards our parents — with whom we have developed an extremely involved relationship over the years.

Questioning such a thing, takes a lot of courage. Letting go of that attachment, puts the responsibility of our life back in our hands. And that’s scary. But it’s also incredibly liberating:

You can finally feel free to live life on your own terms, while still loving your parents for being a part of it.

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Me and my parents.

So my question for you is:

Have you ever known your parents beyond the veil of authority?

Can you look them in the eyes and peacefully disagree with their judgment?

If your mother was a woman you just met on a bus, would you listen to her to make important life choices?

If your father was a man you just met in a bar, would you let his ideas shape your values?

To put it simply:

How much are you still emotionally attached to your parents?

Taking the time to honestly answer this question, can change the course of your life.

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