Is it appropriate to call your childhood disappointing when you know your parent tried their best?
Its an ethics thing or should I say something to do with morals.
On one hand, I was disappointed a lot.
On the other hand, it wasn't her fault.
Although, when you are a child, you can't help but take it personal.
As a single parent, my mum really tried her best. Looking back, my childhood wasn't unpleasant, even though it felt like that at the time. I had really good food, love, shelter, warmth, protection, everything a child needs. Emphasis on the "NEEDS" because I very rarely got what I wanted.
I wanted a bike, a PlayStation (which I eventually got many years after), nice trainers, a smartphone, to go on trips or outings etc. Did I mention I was a single child? Yeah... a lot of people were always saying lucky you, you must be so spoilt. I got envied by my peers who had to share a lot with their siblings and I rubbed it in.
I took the opportunity to place myself on higher pedestal than I deserved. Claiming to be this and that. Man I told a lot of lies. Like when I said I had a twin brother and everyone believed me. Big LOL. I tried to make myself look cool. Hiding behind a mask of privilege but secretly hurting from disappointment.
It's not that I wasn't cared for. I was promised a lot of the things mentioned above for my birthdays and Christmas, and when I did well in school. Then I'll wait, and wait, and keep waiting, and waiting... for the present that I knew deep down below was wishful thinking. But I kept hoping.
Then I had friends who would help me out and then use that a leverage to try to pressure me into doing something they wanted me to do. I never did realise that this was reality. Only through this experience that I realised that nothing is free. Every interaction is a transaction. Or at least you have to treat it like that.
From these experiences, I learnt two things about life.
1. Don't expect things from others. If it happens, it is a bonus.
2. Every interaction is a transaction. Make sure you can deal with fulfilling your part of the bargain before entering.
These are the principles in life, amongst others, that I have adopted, and the secret to my happy adult life. Now you might think I sound pessimistic, and indeed I do. However, pessimism, as I have noticed, is arguably a reality of life. It's not anyone's fault. Everyone has enough worries of their own to keep you in their mind all day. In my case, I had a single mother who worked full time, provided for me, did all the expenses, and even though I did not always get what I wanted, I never lacked.
I look around at people getting angry at each other, couples fighting, friends quarrelling, families separating, even strangers brawling. The common theme is always that someone didn't do what was expected of them. And indeed disappointment hurts. It is painful, but when you remember that no one wakes up in the morning and plans on how to disappoint you, you will reach a level of enlightenment that brings happiness, tolerance and most importantly, empathy.
Putting yourself in the other person's shoes is a very valuable trait that will not only result in you being a better person but also being a better friend, partner, brother, sister, parent.
So, looking at all of this, I'm happy because I focus on giving out happiness rather than receiving it because I have no expectations of others. Disappointment is one of the lessons I learnt as a child. It has made me a better person. It has made me a happy Adult.
I would love to know your thoughts on this. Send me an email at [email protected]