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Happy senior couple playing with a wheelbarrow

They say that no one leaves this planet alive.  When we became the babies our parents conceived and birthed, each of us came into this life with a “time-limited” stamp.

But no one arrived with an “opportunity limited” stamp on our possibilities for living well.

Probably all of us have had some complaints about how our parents raised us.  You might have wanted parents who had more time for you, paid you more loving attention, or had the “connections” that would have gotten you into the right college.  Unfortunately, some have used those “complaints” as a self-created barrier, limiting their ability to have the life they’d truly like to be living.  Maybe they’re still blaming their parents…

As we got old enough to become the parents, many of us found we had more compassion for our parents’ limitations, fatigue, overwhelm and “selfish” behaviors. By letting go of our historic complaints, we also discovered more compassion for ourselves — our own limitations, fatigue, overwhelm and “selfish” behaviors.

The “lucky” among us noticed we could also make a practice of the three keys to happiness, according to the scientists:

  • savoring the good times
  • forgiveness
  • gratitude.

By focusing our attention on working with these essential tools of the “happiness kit,” we could see more clearly what our parents had sacrificed for us and shared with us, and how we had taken part in limiting our own possibilities.

Growing wiser and more peaceful from holding that perspective, we began to recognize that holding onto our “complaints” about childhood and focusing on what wrongs had been “done to us” was actually limiting our happiness.

And, once we could do that, we actually could SEE THE POSSIBILITIES for a happier life, the fulfilling life we’d always wanted. By expanding our thinking, we become able to envision living the full and rich life we’d always planned to have.
As we age and live with the pains of being mortal — physical pain, losing our best friends, even watching our aging parents lose their memory of us — these can weaken our resolve to “see the possibilities.”  Some days, it may even seem easier to ”give up” on those possibilities. But when that pessimism begins to descend, that’s when we need to try harder to use our mental power to aim for ongoing happiness.   That’s when we can “tweak” our negative thinking and return to the tools that remind us to live from the possibilities: compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, and savoring the good times.

What would your life be like if you LIVED FROM THE POSSIBILITIES?  How could you make your experience of living — and those around you — more joy-filled?  Share what’s worked for you! 

If you like what you’ve read here and are interested in reading more, buy the book,

“Oh My God! We’re Parenting Our Parents: How To Transform This Remarkable Challenge Into A Journey of Love.


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