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Are You Living Vicariously Through Your Children?

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  • Are You Living Vicariously Through Your Children?

    Perhaps once or twice, as you took your young daughter to her umpteenth ballet recital or hoisted your son up onto the back of a horse for his riding lesson, the thought crossed your mind that you are enjoying this more than they are.

    Is it wrong to want to offer your children a taste of the things you once so heartily desired?

    Of course not. That is, if they want those things too.

    Yet, if your wishes, wants and dreams begin to crowd out those of your children, you may have a problem on your hands. This type of vicarious living, in which your children may never get to develop their own interests or grow into their own people, is not what being a parent is all about.

    You may be living vicariously through your children if you:
    • Talk more about their activities than they do
    • Are more emotionally invested in their activities than they are (did you cry when your daughter lost the science fair, while she just brushed it off?)
    • Constantly give your child instruction and critiques of their activities and life
    • Feel your status or self-esteem rides on your child’s achievements
    • Say “we” to describe your child’s life (“We need to practice more so next time we’ll win.”)

    Keep in mind that most children aim to please their parents. So if they sense that their involvement in an activity makes your day, they will likely continue for your benefit. That is not to say, however, that over time they will not begin to resent you for it. And, in the long-run, when your child grows older he will definitely not appreciate having sacrificed his own childhood to make up for yours.

    If you sense that you may be trying to live out the life you've always wanted through your children, there is good news. There's still time for you to accomplish your goals, and you don't need to pressure your child into doing it for you.

    “When you live vicariously through others you sometimes can get great enjoyment,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. “However, at other times your living through others is based on a feeling that you cannot accomplish what you choose or have what you want. This is often just a belief that living through others is only masking.”

    The key to giving up vicarious living in favor of truly living is to let go of the doubts, fears, or guilty feelings that are holding you back. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to be a chef, what’s stopping you from doing it? Most likely, your own apprehension.

    So instead of telling yourself that you 'can't,' it's time to start saying 'I can.' The Sedona Method can help you to release the negative 'what ifs' that are sabotaging your efforts at living the life you want.

    “The best way to add vigor and excitement to your life is to live it for yourself -- moment to moment,” Dwoskin says. “Meanwhile, let go of any beliefs or memories that are telling you that you can’t, or shouldn’t, live life fully.”
    Purchase Letting Go Movie on DVD
    Purchase Beyond Letting Go
    Purchase The Sedona Method Course
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