I’m not sure it’s advice that I’m after, because I’m not even sure if I have a problem. Well, at least I don’t think I have a problem. It’s that some other people seem to have a problem with me. These other people are family and friends of family who have known me ever since I was a kid. It does matter to me what they think because they are people who care about me, and I don’t like to let them down. Their problem is that they think I’m a “loser”. By their definition this means that I have nothing of “substance” to show for myself because I don’t have a well paid job, I don’t own a house or car or have any financial security. They think I’m a failure because I dropped out of Uni without finishing my law degree, and have never really made any decent money out of my music and song writing which is my only real passion. They don’t seem to realize or understand that I chose to do these things, and I’m so glad I did. They can’t accept that I could possibly be happy without all the things they have worked so hard to gain, and secure and value so highly. Maybe they feel that without those things that they could never be happy.
I really don’t need any of those things to live a happy, fulfilled, exciting life (even though there are times when not having them is inconvenient). I honestly feel very happy with what I have and don’t feel unfortunate in any way. I’m so grateful to be young and healthy and to be able to play and write music and travel and meet lots of amazing people and have so many wonderful friends who appreciate my talents. This is what is truly important to me.
What upsets me is the thought of being disregarded and misunderstood by my family. It hurts to think that I am an embarrassment to them. They are good people who I respect and making them proud means a lot to me. My dad’s health has deteriorated over the last two years, and being his only son, I really don’t want him to thinking that I was a failure. I love him a lot and can’t bare the thought of never earning his respect. Please help me to come to terms with this.
If your family are the good people you believe them to be, then surely they are intelligent and sensitive enough to appreciate how important your lifestyle choices and passion for music is to you. What makes you so sure they think you are a loser or an embarrassment? How do you know what they are thinking? These are very harsh and unfair judgments to make of someone who has the commitment and courage to follow their heart and respect their talents. These are admirable qualities.
How do you know that your family doesn’t appreciate you for these things? Have you ever shared your passion for music with your father? Do you tell your mother about your travels and the places you’ve been and the people you’ve met? There could be a part of them that yearns for the adventure and freedom that you have. I believe that there is a good chance that they do respect you for the choices you make because they know you well enough to see how important they are to you. Even if they don’t fully understand your choices now, it could be because you have never felt confident enough to share your values with them and show them how much it means to you.
If they are good people, and your passion is genuine, they will understand and love you for it. If you have tried to do this and they have rejected you for it, then all you can do is forgive them for their ignorance and move on. As you say, it is their problem, not yours. You can only be the best person you are, and you need to be the judge or what that is.
Give your family a chance to understand you. Don’t feel judged or unappreciated. These states of mind project defensiveness and will block the channels of love, compassion and understanding. Assume that they respect you and feel proud of your achievements. Spend some quality time alone with your father. Get to know and appreciate his passions and let him in on yours. Find a place that you can share with him, where you feel able to be yourself and he is able to empathize, and let him know how you feel.
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