TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN!
The Onset Of Inner Conflict
Change is the only constant. While there is a dynamic change in society’s technological and social fabric, our lives have become simple yet increasingly complex. The lens through which we perceive things is sometimes contrastingly different from how our parents had led their youth. This difference in perception is often referred to as a generation gap. Generation gap can be a profound reason for miscommunication and mental turbulence, often resulting in depression. The imposed expectations, constant reference to the difference between “our times” and “your generation” has taken a toll on even the most mentally strong people. Hence, it is not surprising that parenting is one of the leading causes of depression amongst the youth.
Perfection And Its Baggage Of Emotional Turbulence
It is a well-known fact that every parent wants the best for their child, be it academically or socially. Stemming from the grounds of ‘motivation’, parents often compare us to our friends or family members who are better than us in certain aspects like studies. What they fail to understand is that perfection is a myth. We have certain inherent flaws which prohibit us from being the ‘perfect child’. This constant comparison draped as ‘competitive spirit’ starts from early childhood, especially in Asian households. For a few, this acts as a motivating factor. However, for many, this induction of the ‘competitive spirit’ often becomes the breeding ground for an inferiority complex. When we start comparing our weaknesses with the strengths of others, we often view ourselves as failures. We may view ourselves as “I am not good enough”.
Our negative about ourselves can lead us to disregard our strengths. Consequently, instead of polishing our strengths, we get into this toxic cycle of self-depreciative behavior and constant self-loathing pessimism. As a result, we start feeding our minds with negativity which forbids us from looking at the brighter side of things. People of all ages need a certain outlet to seek validation, often, to cover up their insecurities.
In the case of teens or young adults subjected to the evil nature of this ‘competitive spirit’, the sense of seeking validation is rather profound. There is an urge to ‘prove something’ to ‘someone’. Often, our self-esteem, constantly being attacked coupled with negativity, finds validation in self-destructive behaviour such as smoking, binge drinking, binge eating, etc.
Everything is interconnected. Using these vices to cover up for the affected self-esteem gives us momentary pleasure and can empower us. While the subconscious mind is still disturbed, we make mistakes that we regret in the state of sobriety. Our pattern of self-destructive behaviour can lead to feelings of shame, guilt. It makes us question our character, and in a vicious cycle, we feed our inner, unresolved issues. If we take an aerial view, our actions are consequences of what has severely affected us emotionally. A lot of it is rooted in the upbringing or the style of parenting. Worst of all, much of this emotional trauma or mental disturbance, created by parents are often unintentional.
There is a certain dilemma for the ones who look at issues from a logical perspective and are highly practical. The question that arises is: if our parents want the best for us, why do they end up hurting us emotionally? Different minds work in different ways. Not everyone is practical, and neither is everyone emotional. We must understand that communication and opening up can heal wounds which time cannot. Time does not fix issues; it just buries the problem. As long as we do not find a permanent solution, attaining mental peace is difficult.
Impact Of This Ever-Increasing Communication Gap
While values often remain constant, times have changed. 21st century is synonymous to social media and technological marvels. While this has made our lives easier, it has successfully created immense distress in our minds. The current era relies heavily on social media to create an image that makes us susceptible to peer pressure, which could severely impact our lives.
Exposure to society, school, and friends impacts mental well-being since it may be contradictory from our parents’ values. We have to understand that there is a huge cultural transition from when our parents were growing up. This cultural transition can justify to some extent our parents not understanding what we are going through. While communication is the key here, many a time, it is out of respect and fear that we do not freely talk to them. This void only becomes larger with time and maturity. After a certain point, we distance ourselves from those who love us unconditionally and long to find that lost love in temporary relationships.
For any child, prolonged miscommunication with parents makes them feel loveless and lonely. When we enter the world with those unresolved feelings, we make ourselves vulnerable to the people who want to utilize us for their gain. Soon, we fall into this spiral of loneliness and get addicted to the sorrow that it gives us. It is then that we fall into depression. While the reality is harsh and crude, it is the upbringing and style of parenting that could either give us a robust personality or a ‘victim’ personality manipulated by self and others.
Obstacles And Failure Are Not Synonymous
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just like physical illness, mental illnesses are treatable. Each of us deserve better, and it is rather unnecessary to perish in this state of self-loath and negativity. The way we think is reflected in our actions. For the thinking to be changed, we need to talk to someone we trust or have ‘the talk’ with our parents. Especially with regards to parenting, certain traumas caused by them, intentionally or unintentionally have everlasting impacts that could harm us in the future. Therefore, we have to tackle these problems, even if it requires us to get out of our comfort zone. Mustering courage is an absolute necessity to tackle our problems. Hence, life does not end in this darkness, and you do not have to be in this state. Focus on the ray of light at the end of this dark tunnel and try to speak your mind, fearlessly. Each of us has made regrettable decisions, and while you have fought through all the adversities to live till this day, you will fight along to live another one.