The Best Gift My Parents Gave Me

Photo taken in Iceland

Earlier this week, as an exercise, I decided to ponder what are the things that I truly believe in and who am I at my core. It wasn’t difficult at all. My way of considering this was by asking, “What are the things about myself that I would not compromise for anyone or for any reason?”

Some of the answers (not in any particular order):

  • I will always believe in a loving God.
  • I will nurture relationships with friends and family.
  • I will always pursue physical health.
  • I will always be kind.
  • I will be wholesome in my speech.
  • I will be honest.
  • I will not be a victim.

I could go on but these are some of the ones that come to mind. I would encourage you to conduct this exercise also. When you know who you are, everything becomes easier.

But how do we become who we are? There will always be debates about nature versus nurture. I do think we have certain unique aspects of who we are (our soul). And there are parts of who we are because of our experience.

My parents gave me a gift, something I may not have regarded as such in my early years: an example of what to avoid in life. Both of them strayed into areas which served neither them, me, nor anyone else well. And so, seeing their example, I knew what I wanted to do differently.

Please don’t think there is anything negative in the recognition. Our lives are complex and we never quite know the twists and turns they will take. The combination of my upbringing and my unique soul formed who I am, just as these things in your life made you who you are.

The nature of this gift wasn’t always clear. It first manifested itself as sheer determination to survive. I was successful, but as we know, survival is not living.

Over the years, I began to realize that I was meant to do more than survive, and in what felt like an earthquake, I started to live. It was then, when surviving gave way to being in love with this existence, that I realized the best gift my parents gave me: life. And if they did nothing more than this, it would be worthy of eternal gratitude.

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