Complicated Legacy

Sometimes, children measure themselves against the achievements of their parents. They frequently fall short in their own mind and feel badly. They judge themselves harshly for failing to achieve as much their parent. It is a blow to their self-esteem. They do not give themselves credit for what they do attain because to them it seems minor by comparison.

It is hard to live up to a super parent’s success. But, you don’t have to. It is probably not necessary for you to forge a new path or climb to a new pinnacle. You can be just as great in your own way.

Frequently, the child exceeds the parent because they received a boost by them and the child is not starting from scratch.

Just as frequently the child feels they cannot live up to the standard set by the parent. Don’t let the enormity of their accomplishments make you feel guilty or make you give up. Just because you didn’t have to struggle does not make you less of a person. Do not get discouraged. Do not criticize yourself or think negative thoughts about yourself or label yourself a failure. Respect yourself.

Granted, the parent child relationship is not always a positive one. The very personality traits that made them great could also make them difficult. It is not unusual for the parent to hold high expectations for the child and be very disappointed if the child does not achieve them. They may not see your greatness or appreciate you for who you are. This can be very painful for all those involved.

Sometimes, there is a self-imposed need to attain something great in order to feel fulfilled. That is not always possible due to circumstances beyond your control. Remember that old verse. “De sunflower ain’t de daisy…Don’t be what you ain’t, just be what you is.” Perhaps, in the end that is the greatest way to honor your parents and show appreciation for their accomplishments and gratitude for whatever they did for you.

Patricia Frankis a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788-4864,

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