The Conflicting Existence of the Immigrant Child
Let’s talk about something that frankly isn’t discussed enough (trust me, I’ve done countless searches on it).
It’s about the conflicting existence of those who grow up as first-generation immigrants or whose parents are, and how this can play a major role in big life decisions they make for themselves.
When I say big life decisions I’m talking about education and career choices, and even relationship choices.
I think one component that often isn’t there for a lot of us who grew up as first-generation immigrants or in immigrant households is stability.
We often witness our parents struggle, sometimes to the point where it feels painful.
And sometimes this becomes a heavy burden – where we feel it is our responsibility to pursue a life path that will make the family proud and make them feel like their sacrifices were worth something.
They did come here to give us a better life after all, this is the part where we repay them.
I know this firsthand; I watched my dad struggle immensely in his career. Cue in the story of the university prof who moved to North America and became a driver for a living, he took the hardest hit with my family’s move.
So, one of the main takeaways was to aim for stability, a safe life with a stable income. Something that could be wrapped in a neat little box.
But the irony is that this leads to everything but stability.
Not to mention that this way of thinking is often driven by scarcity- a deep fear of not having enough, of not being enough.
You ignore who you are, what your interests are, and what you want. You bury those desires deep down, in the noble quest to pursue something recognized as prestigious, safe, and responsible.
It’s people pleasing at it’s finest- other people’s approval of your choices takes the drivers seat, not purpose, passion, or your interests.
So, people who are artists, writers, and creatives at their core end up pursing these “prestigious” life paths, some in healthcare, engineering, law, accounting, etc.
Anything else would be considered lazy, unambitious, and irresponsible.
But fast forward a few years later and there is now a whole generation of deeply unhappy, unfulfilled, yet accomplished individuals, asking themselves- “Ok I did everything I was supposed to, but now what?”
Individuals who have pushed aside their true desires for so long, they can’t remember what they want anymore.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that your family is to blame for your career and life choices. In fact, I’m a big proponent of taking responsibility for all your life choices, the victim mentality isn’t useful.
And ultimately, it was you who made those decisions. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize that you could have decided differently.
We always have a choice.
But if this does resonate with you, it’s useful to understand why you made those decisions in the first place.
If you’re feeling self-judgement or resentment, know this- you probably did the best you could with what you knew at the time.
And figuring out what you actually want to do with your life isn’t that difficult.
You actually hold onto that information; it’s just repressed because you haven’t made the space for it to come to the surface. This is where life coaching is a game changer by the way.
This is particularly true if you’re used to dismissing your desires and interests as “risky, impractical, or non-conventional.”
And if you are really stuck in “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” mode, it complete BS. You do know what you want, your fear is getting in the way of you acknowledging it.
Fear of what others may think, fear of trying and failing at it, fear of potentially starting over.
But what a shame for you to be wasting your gifts, your time, and who you are on a path that isn’t for you.
And it’s not only you who loses, the world would also be a better place if you were on a path that actually lit you up, one where you weren’t on autopilot.