Often during readings I run across people who are fulfilling their parents’ expectations of them instead of doing what they really want to do with their lives. Usually when such people come to me they are feeling the tug of another path but fear telling their parents that they want to switch careers. But expectations are not obligations. Just because someone thinks they know what’s best for you doesn’t mean they’re right. Just because your culture demands that you bow to the will of your parents or your father doesn’t mean you should. What if bowing to such a demand creates dissatisfaction in your life? Do you think it’s more important to follow the dictates of your culture or to follow your own heart?
What are the consequences of following the path another has laid out for you? You may get lucky and actually enjoy the path. That’s certainly possible. Or you may end up hating your job. Do you really think your parents want you to be unhappy? Often my sitters reveal to me that they are lying to their parents about how happy they are so they can avoid dealing with the situation. Their big plan is to wait for their parents to pass away so they can begin living their life the way they want to. That’s no way to live; waiting for another to die so you can finally be who you really are. Give that some thought and ask yourself if you’re doing that in your own life.
Another big area besides career where I see this conformity to cultural norms is in marriage. In some cultures there is apparently an expectation that marriage will happen by a certain age, and if it doesn’t happen on its own then a suitable mate will be found for the youngling. Because of this, I have read for people, usually women, who are being told by their families that unless they find a husband soon then one will be found for them. These are often women who have left their native countries to go to college in America. I’ve been told by these women that once they saw how American girls/women were allowed to pick their own mates and usually on their own schedule that they became dissatisfied with having a mate chosen for them. This often causes great conflict with their family back home. These women either stand up to their families (and are sometimes disowned for this) or they race to find a husband that they can at least choose themselves, often picking wrong in their haste.
So what’s to be done? What advice do I have? I truly believe it’s best to follow your own heart. When you give your power to others you are giving up control but not responsibility. I’m sure families mean well, but how often do things actually work out well?
It also appears that these families are coming from a place of fear. “My daughter better get married soon or she won’t find a man who will take her, or she won’t have children in time.” Or, “My son needs to be a doctor so he will be able to take care of the family financially.” If you want to take care of your family financially then that’s great, do what you must, but is it right for them to expect you to give your life to a profession you’re not interested in? I don’t think so.
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there with arranged lives who are very happy. More power to them. They got lucky. But I also know, because I’ve seen this many times, that there are people out there who want to walk their own path and, because of guilt and expectations, bow to the will of their parents or cultural norms.
This doesn’t just happen in European and Asian countries either. I’ve read for a lot of American men and women who are also following a path laid out for them by others, whether that’s parents, spouse, or social conditioning. Are you walking your own path or did someone hand you a map and point to a goal?
Would you tell your child what to do with his or her life? If you answer no, then is it fair for your parents to tell you what to do with yours?
Spiritually speaking, when you walk a path that is laid out for you by others then you miss or avoid facing the challenges and lessons you intended for yourself before you incarnated. When that happens you get to come back and try again. What did you sign up for in this life? Are you fulfilling the expectations you set up for yourself? Or are you fulfilling someone else’s expectations?
It may not be easy to tell your parents that you’re going to follow your own path, but the sooner you tell them the better. If you wait until they die then I might have to be the one to tell them for you. Let’s not put me in that position.
Get busy living your life and walking your path. It’s unique and special, and was perfectly designed just for you. Remember that expectations are not obligations. Pick up your map and start navigating.