Here I am on the beautiful island of Crete in Greece. A land known for its gorgeous food, weather and beaches.
There is another side of Greece that few are aware of. A side that sometimes keeps people from experiencing freedom and happiness in their lives.
A side that I know very well: My ancestors are Greek!
From the time many Greek children are born, they are told every single day to help their parents. That if they help, they are good kids, better than other kids who don’t help. They are the bad kids. And who wants to be a bad kid?
It’s a cultural thing, and not only in Greece. I have seen this phenomena in families from all over the world.
This pattern can start with a comment as innocent as a parent casually telling their child,
“be a good boy and go get mommy her glasses.” Or something more intense like, “You have to help me, I’m your father” or “you made mommy sad now”.
Parents often would like to take from their children because their own parents took from them. By take I mean asking for favours from their children and even making the child feel responsible for their wellbeing. Eventually, the roles are reversed and the child behaves like the parent, and the parent as the child.
According to Bert Hellinger, the founder of Family Constellations work, the problem with this pattern is that children are not meant to give to their parents. Quite the opposite. Children are meant to take from their parents.
Parents give to children because they have already received from their parents.The thing is, life is a forward movement. Life energy is a gift passed on to every human being ever born and cannot be owned.
Parents cannot ask for anything in return from their children.
They have simply passed on this life energy.
Life flows forward, as should love, help and affection.
If the flow of love is not going forward, pain and imbalance can result for the entire family. Even as parents make demands from their children, deep down they feel guilty and unhappy for taking from their children. When a child feels responsible for his parents’ wellbeing, this creates a huge burden that prevents him from fully showing up in his own life. His life energy, creativity and own sense of self is suppressed, leaving him with a life of shoulds and should nots, lack of vitality, guilt and shame. So unless your parents are over 75 and/or ill, it’s time to let go forward.
Here are 5 tips to help you live your own life, on your own terms:
1.Know that your parents are adults, older than you and can take care of themselves. They raised you pretty well without your help, didn’t they?
2.Your parents, way deep down would love NOTHING more than to see you as the happiest person on earth living your own life, free from their needs and desires. It is time to live your own life. The time is now!
3. It will feel better than you ever thought possible when you trust your parents with their own life. Promise. Give back their life and their responsibility for themselves. You will feel free…like a kid again! Trust me on this one!
4.You are now ready to go forward into your own life as an individual with their own dreams, impulses and dance. I’m rooting for you!
5.Life is waiting for YOU! Now doesn’t that sound awesome?
Jivan Dios is a Canadian Family Constellation Therapist living and working in Stockholm, Sweden and on the island of Crete where she offers couples & healing retreats. Online counseling is also offered. For contact, www.opentherapy.se