As someone raised in a nominally Protestant Christian/mostly secular household, talent and success were considered the paramount of human worth. Although my family was lower middle class, I was raised in an affluent community and an environment where every kid was treated as though they had great potential to “be anything”/”do anything” etc. Parents put their kids into expensive lessons and activities because they were supposed to grow up, get admitted to ivy league schools, get “good”/”real” jobs, make a lot of money, get married, buy big houses, and prove that multigenerational upward mobility really is a thing in America. This did not manifest for much of the millennial generation…and it is quite likely that it never will.
The idea that human worth=achievement and those who are talented/successful/beautiful/etc. are the only ones deserving of love has been deeply engrained in my conscious…and I suspect the conscious of many others. It’s extremely hurtful when older generations claim that millennials feel as though they have to have everything handed to them…I believe that part of this is because of these wounds…we’ve been told for so long that we have to be the superstar to be worthy of love that we become desperate to claim the outward signs (admission to that top school, that top job, that “amazing” spouse, etc.) and fall into despair if we are not able. Converting to the Faith has made it clear that human worth does not equal talent and success and that such things come from God and should be used according to His purpose…but we all still live in the world…
I’m the only convert in my immediate family. For a long time, I struggled with feelings of worthlessness and guilt over not really having any “great” talent or achieving anything “big” so that others’ sacrifices would be “worth it”. I even wrote about it here in my very early posts that I made when I was converting (circa 2009). Although my worldview is slowly shifting (and I have prayed for God to help me every step of the way), I know that I will never be able to interact with my family without them thrusting these old patterns in my direction. Even if I do achieve something, it will never be good enough, or it will immediately be compared to others’ greater successes. This really only comes from my mother, and I do not know why she treats me like this. At the same time, I know that it is very unlikely to change.
Millennials (and, of course, anyone who can relate to a familial or societal atmosphere like the one above): how do you make peace with how you were raised? How do you keep strong in the face of such lies? From where do you draw your strength?