If you want to know who your parents are, you can talk best with in-laws, old friends or loved ones. People who know your family, but can also keep a sufficient distance to stay clear of the patterns, behavior and self-images that unconsciously keep tribal elders and descendants in a straitjacket. If you know seven such people, you can understand the complexity of your father or mother, and of yourself.

Yet that is not the whole solution. You have to go in, because what you see outside can be so different from your inner experience. Recognizing your own behavior seems to underline the natural state of affairs within families.

But which heritage from the past plays a role in your present? Life feeling? Skills? A way to look at things and to be wise? No trifle, to get clear who you are and what belongs to the other person.

The stories of parents and ancestors often consist of heroic stories. There you find the pain. People have to live on, even if there are dragons that block their way. Wisdom of life sometimes brings nuance into those stories. You have never heard some stories, for example about yourself. They do not tell them to you, but to the neighbors or to others. Your honor and glory remains a well-kept secret at home.

Parents always want to do better than their own parents. And there’s the venom. You just pass on what you do not want to pass on, the dragons you do not want to make friends with. Only that which you live, of which you are the living example, is a tradition, a quality or a skill that can be embraced by your offspring. Because it is a natural given that exists without words, an unparalleled guideline.

Not so long ago a sister-in-law from my mother told me how she had experienced the in-laws. They all wanted to control you. My mother, according to her, suffered from a sense of superiority. Such a feeling originates in the opposite pole. I met a friend of my father thirty years ago. He turned out to be better at dealing with me than with my father, who struggled with the death of my mother at that time. I was allowed to read his diaries from the years that he had a friendship with my father. That gave me an uncensored glimpse into the problems of youth in the forties. And then there are the letters from the lady my father corresponded with at the end of the forties. They paint an image of a romantic who did not get a foot on the ground with a worldly woman. Do I recognize myself in that?

The course of family relationships, friendships, relationships and work obviously have many similarities. But the most important discoveries in life can only be done yourself, despite the good intentions of your parents to save you the pain of rejection and self-rejection. Only the values that parents and ancestors themselves put into practice automatically take over their children, for example as a source of inspiration. Every form of standardization is a result of inhibitions and dressage. It is very natural that a child can not do anything with it.

The strength and weaknesses of your family are the heritage that you unwillingly get away from home. To discover who you are yourself you need an empty mirror. This is not a critical look at the facts. Under those facts you will find an original face that can only be understood through compassion. The empty mirror speaks by keeping silent. And through that deafening silence you rise above the sea level of past and future. Only the present does matter. Every generation has its own priorities.

Original text in Dutch.


2 thoughts on “THE EMPTY MIRROR SPEAKS [6]

  1. En alweer een interessante blogserie Huub.

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