Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Parental Approval


Right then, I’m a week into the millionaire blogosphere and I’m slowly learning how to sail this ship. There’s widgets to be added, fellow bloggers to be followed, websites to link to and above all a minefield of emotional, psychological and otherisms to get my head around. Who said making a million was all about money?

Behind a big “scary” To-Do list and endless networking to be done, the biggest spider that’s lurking at the rear of my mind is the one with two heads, four legs and a dinner plate piled higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What arachnid is this you ask? My parents. Well, not them per se, but their approval of what I’m doing. Their approval of me Being Me.

Reaching my business goals is about so much more than ticking off a list and meditating on a vision. For me, it’s about unblocking the drain that’s been backed up since I was knee high to a redback. It’s not my parents’ fault, they did everything they could to feed, clothe and love me. The issue is in my perception of what they did for me: a distorted and self-centred perception at best.

Or is it?

Maybe they really don’t approve of me wanting to be a successful businesswoman? Maybe they just think I should be happy with my lot. In my ears, they have always hushed my entrepreneurial dreams. Any notion I’ve had of hitting the “big time” which included launching a natural therapies website, setting up and running a healing practice in Adelaide and rising from magazine journalist to editor, have been met with silence. I take their non-communication as a form of rejection. And it hurts.

Whenever they’ve asked about more stable work, I’ve regressed into a fifteen-year-old and internally run the “oh-my-god-that’s-so-boring” mantra. But as a parent, it’s probably comforting to know your child is going to have regular work and a roof over their head. Sounds quite reasonable when I put it like that.

To me, however, freedom is stability. My dreams are where I find peace, not in a white picket fence and a mortgage. With such disparity on what security is, it’s no wonder I’ve never felt approved of by my folks. Their lives exist within an immaculately trimmed hedge and very few wants. Being non materialistic is a great quality and I have inherited the ability to be happy with few material belongings thanks to them. Conversely though I have immense ambition and an urge to speak up about the things that matter to me – namely how people (me) think and operate. I want to share my life stories because I think my life is fascinating and worth shouting about. I mean, when I do reach millionaire status, it won’t be thanks to any middle class upbringing. On the contrary, mine is a tale of rags to riches.

My early days were spent living in a caravan on the outskirts of Greater London. My family (five of us in total) moved into our first house when I was seven. Silver spoons were something my grandfather won playing bridge and most certainly were not placed in my mouth at birth. Life was a humble existence for us. Not meaning this to be a reminisce for me and incredibly boring for you, I’m covering some of my earliest ground to help paint a picture. You now know I began life with a reasonably low economic start.

Being at the lower end of any socioeconomic scale has consequences, not all of which are poor. For me, I will be eternally grateful for such modest beginnings. The day that I move into that four-bedroom house in Queensland, I’ll know that I worked for it. I’ll also know that the house is not the answer to my happiness, because I knew happiness even when my bedroom was the width of a large safety pin.

But I don’t honestly think it matters if you grew up in a 10-bedroom mansion or a cardboard box; we’ve all got issues. And if the few people I’ve come across in my 41 years is anything to go by, many of us have issues with our parents. Or more precisely how we were parented and how we reckon we could have done it better.

All very well to say when you’re on the receiving end.

I believe every child on the planet seeks parental approval. Whether you’re 5 or 55, it’s a common story. If you openly receive praise, support and approval, then you’re lucky. If, like me you don’t feel approved of, (even just some of the time), it can be a source of inner torment and potentially undermine your best efforts to succeed, without you even realising the cause.

The laughable thing about me feeling unsupported is that I’ve actually done a fair amount of stuff that I wouldn’t blame my parents for disproving of. Only they don’t know that stuff cos I’ve never told them. (So much for me being the open communicator in the family). Truly, I’ve created a lose/lose situation for myself, despite feeling certain I was doing the opposite. But no matter how much self development a person does, if someone else doesn’t want to read Wayne Dyer’s latest book, they’re not going to read it. Likewise, if my parents are happy with their lives, why should they think mine is so much better just because I do?

Yes, parental approval is something that came up when I began this journey to go from being in debt to Becoming All That I Am (and a millionaire blogger to boot). I’m due to spend a month with my folks as of Monday and I’ve decided to actually ask for their approval. Communicating openly to them that one of my greatest fears is that they don’t approve of me, is the only way I’ll really know the truth, right?

When telling friends of my decision to question my parents outright, they have raised their eyebrows and tentatively asked; “What if they say no?” Well, the beauty of them declining is that it will also set me free.

How?

Because if my holding back is about seeking their approval then I can free myself by asking them and receiving it. That’s obvious. If however they are not happy with what I’m doing or writing about, I will no longer be laying bricks over my own dreams based on an assumption. If they say no then I can discard my assumption and know that for whatever reason, my parents are not able to approve of me, and they’re entitled to do so. However, if anyone disproves of me wanting to Be The Best I Can Be, then their acceptance (in my eyes) is not worth worrying about, which means I can happily Be All That I Am with peace of mind. Hurrah!

When it comes to my requirement of external (parental) approval, the key to unblocking the drain was to understand what my issue was and ask for the truth. As it turns out, I didn’t even have to actually ask because I was the one who had the key the whole time.