(my precious momma and daddy, on their 50th wedding anniversary in 2013)
That is a bold statement, but I can back it up. I can back it up personally, anecdotally, and Biblically.
In this blog post, however, I am going to call on a heavy hitter in the world of small business. I am going to let her speak to this issue, as part of an ongoing mini-series, heading towards Mother's Day.
If you own a creative small business - if you are a solopreneur, and you haven't yet heard about Marie Forleo...
...well, it's waaaaay past time that someone told you.
Years ago, I heard that she wrote a book called "Make Every Man Want You" but she wrote it as a life-coaching book, and then purposefully let it masquerade as a book dispensing attraction-advice to women. I was beyond curious.
I bought the Kindle version, two years ago. And I didn't buy it because I wanted to make every man want me.
I wanted to see how this girl could make a hot topic become her "Trojan Horse" to carry what in fact, was her real message to the masses. And she was spot-on.
Simply by adding a hot-button title ("Make Every Man Want You") she managed to package a boring product (self development) in such a way as to drive sales and get her core message out to a wider audience. That book put her on the map. Brilliant. Girlfriend is genius.
But it was chapter 7 that made me sit up and take serious note. Chapter 7 is titled, "Secret 4: Your Parents Didn't Screw You Up (and Even if They Did...)"
One of Marie Forleo's secrets to success was to stop feeling sorry for herself - in short, to stop trying to re-parent herself. One of her biggest secrets to her skyrocketing success has been to stop spinning the "I was abused" story.
I quote Marie in her own words:
"We live in a society that is conditioned to blame the state of our lives on what our parents did or didn't do to us growing up. Either your parents were around too much and controlled you or they weren't around enough and left you with "commitment issues".
One of my biggest breakthroughs, which completely transformed my irresistibility and my ability to have success, was really understanding that my parents didn't screw me up. Until my mid-twenties, I believed I had a dysfunctional family and a mildly abusive childhood. I was completely comfortable blaming my own inadequacies and failed relationships on my parents.
I would tell men I dated "poor me" stories about how bad my mother was and how she screwed me up. I dubbed her a neurotic "clean freak" and held resentment against her for constantly making me pick up after myself. While I didn't have as many stories about my dad, I nevertheless...silently begrudged him for failing to save me from my mother's mean ways.
What a total crock!
My childhood was neither dysfunctional nor mildly abusive. The only dysfunction that occurred was in my bratty little mind. I told those "poor me" stories based on memories I put together as a difficult teenybopper who did not like to be told what to do...
I had no awareness of how challenging it is to be a parent, or the complexities and demands that come along with caring for and raising a family. Like many children, I was untidy and self absorbed and I needed discipline. Looking back with my adult eyes, I'm 100 percent certain I did things that drove my parents nuts....The memories of my childhood as dysfunctional are not at all accurate. They were recorded in my mind by a much younger version of me - during a time I was upset and having temper tantrums. I had a child's perspective, which, by its very nature, is limited and incomplete. I "recorded" my mom's parenting as somehow dysfunctional and abusive. Until I brought awareness to it, I brought that story with me forward in time as though it were true...
If you're holding on to a story that your parents screwed you up, you severely limit what's possible for you...you squash your irresistibility because you are not yet behaving as a full, adult woman. Instead of being an authentic, unique individual, you're stuck being not like your "bad" parent. Rather than living an expansive life...you're living life in reaction to your parents.
...All of this drama is eroding your well-being..."
Can you imagine the courage it took for Marie to say all this publicly? To own the fact that her perspective on her upbringing was warped at best? And then to fix it? Publicly? I don't know if Forleo is a church-going woman, but I rarely see that kind of courage, even in God's house.
Marie goes on to acknowledge that, obviously, some people truly have been abused (I'm talking bruises, broken bones, or sexual abuse). Even then, Forleo's advice is to forgive and move on.
In short, in all but the most abnormal of home situations, none of us has a reason to spin the story of "abuse". And if we choose to spin that story, we hurt no one but ourselves.
When I was growing up, I had issues with my mom. My own mother, today, would acknowledge that some of my issues were legitimate, because she struggled with acute, suicidal depression when I was a child.
But like Marie, one of my biggest breakthroughs was when I decided to stop spinning my "poor me" story. One day, as a young mother of two identical twin infant daughters, I was alone with my thoughts...which almost never happened, back then. I was pondering some things that happened in my childhood, and frankly feeling sorry for myself.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me in that moment and said, "Stop. You will never rise above what you identify with. You can identify with feeling unloved, or you can identify with the truth."
I can honestly say that I broke free right then and there. I haven't had a perfect perspective since then - there have been rare hours or days when I try to revert back to spinning a "poor me" perspective - but overall, I released my mother (and my father) and chose to acknowledge that my "take" on my upbringing was slanted at best...and at worst, I realized how I erroneously felt that it served me to selfishly cast myself as the victim.
But nobody stays "the victim" and succeeds.
Friends, let me put it this way: if I can honestly say that my upbringing was good, and my mom is amazing, and she did the best she could, and I honor her....so can you. So can you. Trust me on this. In all but the most extreme of circumstances, you can absolutely choose to drop the role of victim.
And Biblically, the road to prosperity is paved with honor. We simply must choose to honor our parents, if we want to truly thrive. One thing is for sure: if you want...if you really, really want your child to one day weigh you in their balances and find you coming up terribly short? If you want that, then go ahead...weigh your mother or your father in the scales of your finite understanding, play the role of perpetual victim, and bemoan every way they came up short. Then, by all means, do everything in your power to not be like her/him/them. (Because after all, that makes it all about you, see....victims are totally comfortable with that, even when they parent. They are always parenting their inner
Go on and tell your spouse all the ways your parents messed up - help him or her "understand" you. Its the best way I know to guarantee that your children will one day do the same "for you".