What Your Parents Did Right - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

What Your Parents Did Right

Most of the videos that I create are aimed at helping you to recognize and change patterns that are detrimental to you in your adult life.  In order to fully understand these patterns, we have to go back to why and how they were installed in the first place. Inevitably, this brings us back to your early childhood environment, most especially to the relationship and interaction with your primary caregivers.  For most people, this is your parents and beyond that, family of origin.

For the pure sake of comprehension, I ask you to not engage in a philosophical debate on the concept of right and wrong in this minute.  The path of awakening and awareness will lead you to becoming conscious of what your parents did “wrong”. If you are unable to see what they did wrong, you will adopt and pass on the detrimental patterns they unconsciously instilled in you.  Many people are terrified that by seeing this “wrongness” and changing the patterns, they will somehow lose love and connection and belonging and closeness with their parents. This means that social cohesion becomes the excuse to make excuses for detrimental patterns and the excuse not to change.  This also unfortunately means that the majority of people who are drawn to awakening in the first place had parents with whom they felt no real love, belonging, connection and closeness. In other words, they have less to lose.

I must say here that it is not inevitable that you will lose connection and closeness with your parents by becoming aware.  In fact, multi generational shifts are only possible when one questions one’s own family patterns. This means it is possible to get closer with your family by becoming aware.  There are many factors involved. For anyone who is determined to maintain those family connections at any cost, for those of you that have a hard time looking at what your parents did wrong, you will have no issue with this exercise.  However, for those of you who feel so damaged by your parents and family that any closeness feels painful, this exercise will be a real challenge.

People are black and white thinkers.  There are many reasons for this. The state of cognitive dissonance that is caused by holding contradictory beliefs, ideas, values or perceptions, causes us distress.  It makes it very heard for us to feel in-alignment and make decisions that feel right. Here are some examples: We love to smoke cigarettes, but we know they could cause us to develop cancer.  We think blacks are poor but then we run into one at a five star resort. We love a political candidate and find out they have sexual kinks that contradict our sense of their character. We find out that someone murdered someone else, but they also run one of the most successful non-profit companies, which has saved hundreds of lives.

If we see our parents as all-good, we have established mental and emotional harmony.  We can go to thanksgiving dinner and excuse away or justify any negative pattern we see and feel great about our family.  If we see our parents as all-bad, we have also established a kind of mental and emotional harmony. We can refuse to go to thanksgiving dinner and invalidate any positive pattern we see and consider ourselves justified in cutting them off from our life entirely.  We begin to feel torn when we see both the positive and negative about them.

Awareness is a two-sided coin.  We live in a universe of polarity and contrast.  This means that in order to become fully aware, we must develop AND Consciousness.  The feeling of being torn between two extremes or seemingly opposing truths feels a lot like being stretched.  And this stretching is in fact a feeling often experienced in conjunction with personal expansion. True awakening requires you to expand wide enough to be able to accommodate extremes and contradictions.  This in fact makes the contradictions complimentary.

In the moment that you acknowledge a contradictory truth or state of being and expand wide enough to be able to hold both, you have dis-identified with both extremes.  You have ceased to become either-or and instead have become the thing that is holding both. By holding both, instead of aspects of your self being separated by them, you have created a state of integration or wholeness within your being.  You have also stepped into the realm of choice. Essentially, ‘And Consciousness’ becomes the unifying factor. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness (The Modern Day Replacement For The Middle Way).

It is very damaging to not recognize and change the detrimental patterns you adopted because of your childhood with your parents and family and society.  But guess what? It is also detrimental to not recognize and completely reject the positive patterns you adopted because of your childhood with your parents and family and society.  The idea in terms of expansion is to continue patterns that are beneficial and change ones that are not. All things in existence contain both polarities of positive and negative. And even this is not black and white because a negative in one situation could be a positive in another and vice versa.  I want you to understand that when you came into this embodiment, you opted into a deck of cards. I will debate you in the future about the value of those “low value cards”. But for the sake of really grasping this concept, understand that in that deck of cards you inherited upon your birth and upbringing, some of those cards are crap and some are awesome!  For example, maybe you were born Mexican and this means you adopted a pattern of guilt. But because you were born Mexican, you also adopted a pattern of festivity.    

Today, we are going to make a practice of deliberately looking for the awesome cards in the deck.  Your assignment for this week is to become aware of the positive polarity of your parents and this includes what they did right.  To take this further, just like you do with negative patterns, see how what they did right created a positive outcome in who you are and your life today.

For example, maybe your mother did awesome with holidays and so you always loved them growing up and so now, you are the person who decorates and leads celebrations and makes days special for others and who has something to look forward to every year.  Maybe your father was very good with money and taught you the value of never being in debt and so today, you are one of those rare people who are not in debt and who feels financially stable instead.  

I’ll give you some examples from my own life.  Both my parents had insane work ethics. They instilled this in me very early and so today, that is a big reason why I have such an incredibly high work ethic.  They were animal lovers who were also super knowledgeable about animals and worked for the humane society. I was surrounded in animals from the moment I was born.  Not only do I have a deep knowledge of animals now, but I love them and feel super comfortable around them and this is a big reason my life is so rich today. Animals made me much less of a controlling and uptight person as well.  Neither of my parents ever stood in my way if I wanted something. They both had a huge respect for personal purpose/calling. As a result, I am not burdened like so many people are by the perception of “can’t”. As an adult, I have nothing holding me back internally.  

My mother, who is an activist, refused to have us grow up ignorant so whenever we went on trips to different places, she wouldn’t just let us live it up at luxury resorts.  She’d drag us into the heart of the reality of the culture. I remember going to Mexico and walking through an collection of super poor venders, some of whom had their dying or sick babies or old relatives under their tables so they could sell things while taking care of them at the same time.  I hated this growing up, but now I think it was the best thing she ever did. It is a big part of why I am a humanitarian who is not in a “bubble of a perceptual reality” today. My mother comes from an intellectual family. She is also a feminist. She always celebrated intellectual debate and congratulated me for forming strong opinions.  This is a big reason why now, I am a woman in the world who is both leading and confidently offering my opinions, which is a big step for the empowerment of not only myself but also women.  

My father comes from a diplomatic family and as such, he inherited a real talent and skill for oration.  It was one of the main reasons I opted into his lineage to begin with. His speech patterns and diplomatic way of communicating is a big reason why I am able to convey such complex concepts in a way that people can understand it.  He gifted me with the power of speech. My father is an incredible skier and used to be a competitive ski racer. He put me on skis when I was two years old. It was one of my favorite ways to bond with him growing up and I went on to become a professional skier.  Skiing saved my life when I was 18 years old. It has made me fall in love with an entire season. It is one of my favorite things to do on earth and now, my own son skis so it is a way for us to connect as well.

Now it’s your turn.  If it triggers you to even think about the positive of your parents or of what your parents did right, ask yourself why.  Ask yourself: What bad thing might happen if I see the good or the right in them?  To do this exercise, get a piece of paper and write down as many positives as you can come up with about your parents and all the things that they did right.  Then become aware of how those things positively influenced you and positively impacted who you are and your life today. It can also work to do it backwards by looking at the positive traits you have today and to trace them backward to see if their origins might just be something your parents did right.

No matter who your parents are or were, the reality is that they had positives as well as negatives within them.  If you become aware enough, you will see that they did things right and they did things wrong. If you’re able to see the both, you have the greatest chance of becoming aware of and drawing upon the positive resources you do have as well as discarding the patterns that no longer work for you.  You have the greatest chance of truly awakening.


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