A strange thing about life is that often, the things we end up being most grateful for are the ones we really didn't want to happen. (Sometimes I can't help but feel like adulthood is one big great unfolding of all the things you swore you'd never care about as a kid. It all comes back eventually, eh?) But it all seems very clear in retrospect: the things that bothered us most were the things we most needed. The most pain we felt were also the opportunities for us to open to an equal amount of love and understanding... even if that love and understanding didn't come until later in the game.
Kids who grew up with strict parents are the most self-conscious adults. They are driven and particular and at the same time strangely lazy and careless about the things they don't perceive to matter. They obey and rebel to equal proportion that they felt supported and restricted as kids, and somewhere in that untangling, they usually find gratitude. The parts of themselves that our parents lend us are what makes us so much of who we are. The truth is that most people are doing the best they can, even if their best isn't what we'd consider our own. And part of growing up is accepting that this was true of your parents too. Here, the poignant, profound, beautiful times in your life you'll be strangely grateful for everything your parents didn't give you (and all the rules and obligations they did).
When You See How Kids Who Were Allowed To Be "Cool" Turned Out
Perhaps this is the most incredible realization of adulthood: cool kids, by and large, don't really get anywhere. They peak in high school and then keep on riding out the tide of their perceived superiority. They are the same people who are still drinking in the woods of your hometown, working their same jobs, out of nothing but just a lack of desire to do better. Being cool is not worth it, in the end, and your parents were able to see that long before you could.
When You Realize How Important Self-Control Is
An ounce of self-control is required to accomplish literally anything in this life. (Seriously. Anything. Everything.) And what strictness teaches you is self-control. It programs you with the understanding that sometimes the ends are far more important than the means, and sacrificing your immediate desire for gratification can yield so much more than just a mini-high ever will.
When You Start To See How Important The Things Your Parents Didn't Give You Are
The things your parents don't give you are the things you build your life on. If your parents didn't make you feel in control, you seek control. If you parents didn't give you independence, you seek independence. If your parents didn't give you financial support, you seek that, too. Some people twist this toward the negative: they relapse into the destructive habits of their childhood, but others use it as an incredible opportunity to grow. Nobody does anything unless they perceive it to be necessary. When everything is handed to you, you don't perceive much to be necessary, and so you're equally not as motivated. One of the things you'll be most grateful for in life is what your parents didn't give you – it created the space for you to give something more important to yourself.
When You Acknowledge That They Were Strict Out Of Love
This was hard for your childhood self to see and understand, but they were strict and particular because they love you. Because it's a cold, dark, cruel world out there and they wanted you to be safe. Because there's something more important than just being flowery and fluffy and giving into your every desire, and that's instructing you on how to actually build a life that's truly worth something, and that means something, not just that feels good on the surface.
Images: The WB; Giphy(4)