#21 - Note to Self: I Cannot Change My Parents; I Can Only Change Myself

When my parents didn't meet my needs and wants, I spent years getting frustrated and trying to change them to be more in line with my desires.

I held a story that their behaviors, personality traits, and strategies were "flawed."

When I tried to teach them concepts that I've learned and tell them how to live better lives, I'd wonder why they didn't listen to me.

I realized later that I had done the same to them: brush off the wisdom they wanted to share with me. We kept hoping that the other side would change first.

The lesson I had to learn is that no matter how hard I try or how strongly I believe my parents must change, I don't have the power to make them different.

I only have the power to change myself.

It doesn't mean that I cannot express my concerns or desires. It's essential to any relationship to share my feelings, needs, and what I'd enjoy seeing from them.

I must remember that by focusing on what I can do differently to help our relationship grow, I'm modeling the kind of relationship I'd like to have.

Giving before receiving:

  1. Better understanding and meeting their needs/wants.
  2. Improving my communication strategy, tone, etc.
  3. Processing my desires so I can meet them myself or seek them elsewhere.

Being the one to change first has always served my relationships and increased others' willingness and desire to reciprocate.

Joseph J. Lam
On a mission to help people connect deeply with their parents. | CEO & Co-founder of Parents Are Human (parentsarehuman.com)