#16 - The One Internal Shift I Had to Make to Begin to Understand My Parents

For the longest time, I didn't understand my parents. I was so confused by their behavior. They didn't seem to be logical or rational about their decisions.

It was practically impossible to have a conversation with them that felt worthwhile because it seemed like we didn't have any mutual interests.

I realized that this cycle of having the same conversations and consistently butting heads over and over again wasn't going to change unless I did something about it.

Fast forward two years, and we're so close it's as if we could talk about anything. I can't wait to hear them share another story from their past. So what changed?

The simple (but not easy) internal shift I made was: becoming curious.

I started asking them questions about their childhood, what their favorite food was growing up, what their favorite memories and proudest moments are, as well as their fears and regrets.

I became genuinely interested in who they were as people and the stories they have.

As it turns out, there's no mistake why my parents turned out the way they did. They had life experiences, just like me, that shaped them into who they are today.

I started to understand all their seemingly illogical or irrational behavior. If I had to go through all the pains, challenges, and traumas they experienced, I would probably have very similar fears, insecurities, habitual tendencies, and strong points of view.

The surprising part? They didn't change. They were the same parents they'd always been. What mattered was my curiosity.

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