Accepting Our Parents’ Blessings When Our Parents Are Less Than Perfect

May 9, 2008
Letting go of resentments from childhood

“When we heal our relationship with our parents, we are healing a deep part of ourselves, and this will enhance all our relationships.” — The Shared Heart, Joyce and Barry Vissell, p. 121, reprinted with permission

Poppies in a frameThis Sunday is Mother’s Day and millions of mothers of small children will be honored with a cold-toast and soggy-cereal breakfast in bed and with hand-made cards expressing genuine love and adoration.

The day will also be one of great discomfort for millions of children, especially those who’ve been out of the house for awhile and realize their mother was (and still is) far from perfect. How can they accept their parents, these people say, when they feel their parents never understood them, didn’t give them what they wanted, let alone what they needed? How can they let go of that resentment when they are convinced that problems they have in their lives today were caused by neglect and abuse in their childhood homes?

Unfortunately, many adult children carry grievances from the past and just wish Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day didn’t need to be such a big deal.You may find it difficult to “honor” your mother with sincerity when past (and sometimes current) resentments catch your throat as you profer the “obligatory” flowers, dinner and/or phone call. The Ask Yourself Questions Club questions today are ones that may help you start to see your parents in a new way.

Here are questions you may want to ask yourself if you find it hard to appreciate what you have been given by your parents:

What are the lessons and gifts I received from my parents, even if they were not the parents I would have chosen, if I had been given the chance?

What qualities of strength and character did I gain from dealing with my parents?

Am I willing to let go of my resentments over things that happened in the past and cannot be undone?

NOTE: My husband and I are heading out the door for our traditional Friday night dinner and walk. I will not spend any more time polishing this, which the perfectionist side of me says needs to be done. But this week I had another of my recovering perfectionist lessons that I will tell you about in the next blog entry (early next week).

All you perfectionists out there would do well to come back and read what happened.