Your future doesn't have to look like this. It can if you want it to, though.
If you feel unloved by your mother, do not take it personally. Your mother would have behaved the same way towards any child born to her at that moment. It has nothing to do with you.
Last week, I had the good fortune of stumbling upon an up-and-coming band called Zoccola. Their unique music was performed against a neon pink and black banner that read: "Everything your mother ever told you is a lie."
This slogan might seem grossly exaggerated, but it's substantiated daily by my patients who are transitioning into adulthood.
Here's a few of the most perplexing and damaging of those "lies":
1. Of course, I love you. I'm your mother, aren't I?
A mother's job is to provide unconditional love, care, and support to all her offspring. That's often not the case. I hear about moms being neglectful, abusive, or rejecting. I hear about moms who favor one child over another. I hear all kinds of things that don't sound like love at all. Yet, human beings are conditioned to want to have that love, no matter what. This desire extends well into adulthood. Often, it turns out to be a losing battle.
If you feel unloved by your mother, do not take it personally. Your mother would have behaved the same way towards any child born to her at that moment. It has nothing to do with you. Rather than waste time trying to get something she isn't capable of giving, do it for yourself. Learn how to be self-nurturing and love yourself. Trust in your worthiness and value as a human being.
2. You'll never amount to anything.
Unfortunately, many moms blurt out mean messages. You know the ones I'm talking about. It's all those phrases said in moments of rage, anger, and heated debates. The negativity of those words impacts how you feel about yourself as an adult. If you were told you were 'bad,' deep down you'll always feel you are bad.
The opposite holds true as well. Many of your moms are baby boomers. These mothers are notoriously permissive and indulgent. They were over-compensating for the way they were brought up, which was probably regimented and a bit cold. As a result, you might be having difficulty in today's competitive, economically challenged world. You feel entitled, but don't have the tools to compete and survive.
Re-examine the messages you received from your mom during your formative years. Re-think the negative or unrealistic messages you were given. Formulate new thoughts and beliefs that more honestly reflect on the person you are today.
3. You have to go to college.
The bachelor's degree of today is the same as the high school diploma of yesterday. Most career paths require graduate, doctoral degrees, and experience. Oftentimes, vocational training is far more useful than a four-year college degree. You'll be prepared for an actual job or occupation. It's up to you, not your mom, to figure out what's right for you. There's a delicate balance between happiness and paying the bills.
4. Get a steady job at a good company that provides benefits.
It seems like most parents opt for the steady job with benefits. They don't value the concept of self-actualization. While it's important to have job security, it's equally important to be true to yourself. Creative people simply need to create. Leaders need to allow their ideas to flourish. Repressed inner strengths and talents lead to depression and unhappiness.
Take the time to evolve. Do this before you get married and have babies. How do you want to spend your days? How can you honor your life and those around you? It's not all about planning for retirement, but learning how to live fully in the moment.
5. You have to have a baby.
If you are in your 20s, chances are good your mom has asked, "When will you give me a grandchild?" You might be expected to have a baby by older generations.
The world is overly populated as it is. Stop and think. Do you really want to be a parent? Having a baby is a lifetime commitment. It never ends.
It also means that you may be forever tied to the father of the baby. Try to see all long-term partners as the potential father of your future child. Choose wisely. Make sure you share similar values, trust, and commitment. Remember that divorce is hurtful both to you and your child. Children need consistency and security. Would you be willing to share child-rearing duties to an ex and his new spouse?
Having a baby is the most important decision you'll ever make. You have the power, intelligence, and ability to decide what is inherently correct for you.
6. You need to save money in order to get the good things in life.
Self-worth used to be based on your house, car, and other things you owned. I bet you remember your mom proudly showing off her new furniture, clothes, and kitchen gadgets. Possessions have new meaning in today's world. Many things our parents held in high esteem are simply not that necessary in today's world.
We are getting to the point where material goods merely weigh you down. Car payments and mortgages may not be essential or something you even desire.
7. Everything happens for a reason.
The idea that painful events occur because they were meant to occur is simply unhelpful. It's more accurate to understand that most of life is out of our control. That includes people, places, and things.
Everyday we encounter inexplicable news surrounding death that is shocking and inconceivable. Hence, the need for an underlying meaning. The real truth is that things just happen sometimes — tragic events such as fatal accidents or children falling ill occur without any real explanation. Acceptance is the only real way to work through human horror.
Zoccola makes an important point in their controversial slogan. Never forget Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy. Never forget questionable truths like "swallowing a watermelon seed will cause fruit to grow in your stomach" or "You'll get sick if you swim too soon after eating".
While some of these statements are merely passed down and well-meaning, others are more insidious. Be careful of the ideas that are accepted as truths but do not necessarily hold true for you or your life. As an adult, you have the ability to sort out these messages. It's like cleaning out your closet. Keep what you need, discard what you don't. Reflect and figure out what is meaningful to you. Formulate your own beliefs and remember to allow your own future children to do the same!