No one loves my family more than I do. But it’s time we all accepted an uncomfortable truth: I’ve outgrown it.
It sounds drastic but I think it’s actually quite universal. And more than that, I think it’s necessary for true growth. Before you hyperventilate (especially if you’re a family member of mine), let’s pull apart exactly what sort of betrayal I’m advocating.
Certainly they nurtured me into the person I was, the young adult who most strongly identified with family. But I’ve shrugged off so much of that person, molted so many times now, that in order to be me, I can’t be them. In order to be true to myself, I have to turn my back on where I came from and embrace who I’ve become.
This was an uncomfortable realization. Suddenly my goals and priorities were different from theirs. I was the outlier. I had changed. I had evolved. When I went back home they were all still the same – same routine, same house, same street, same family, same rituals. And I think they expected me to be the same.
Now let’s be clear before the masses start chanting “Traitor!” I still adore them. I still miss them. We all have the same sense of humor, enjoy the same pastimes, and have years of kinship that bind us strongly together.
I had become adventurous, ambitious, and more optimistic. I found these changes a bit at odds with my family, which likes to stay within 20 miles of home, not put too much on the proverbial plate or aim too high, and enjoys commiserating. And none of those things are bad. But they aren’t me anymore.
So I had to make a choice. Do I embrace the newfound me, turning my back on my past? Or do I maintain this important connection in every possible way I can, including rejecting these new attributes? Well the answer was clear. Growth requires change. Sometimes change requires discomfort.
And besides, I like the new me.
Embrace change. Embrace broadening your horizons. Embrace the person you discover, even if she/he isn’t who you expected.
Which, I think, is the springboard of change, and, if you’re having trouble embracing a “you” that’s in conflict with your family, this should ease your anxiety.