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How to deal with parents' expectations? || With students (2014)

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

6 min
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Questioner (Q): Sir, how to deal with the expectations of parents?

Acharya Prashant (AP): See, it’s not about parents only. Everybody expects. Yes? Expectation means there is a desire. Desire means there is a sense of incompleteness. That there is something missing from life, right? That is what leads to the expectation that there is something missing from life.

Now, because you feel that there is something missing from life, you expect. You expect from the world, you expect from others, you expect from situations, you expect from luck, and you also expect from yourself. We have so many expectations even from ourselves. The root of all these expectations is an inner feeling of lack of fulfillment.

“There is something missing from my life, that’s why I am hoping and expecting. There is a gap here. I am hoping and expecting that the gap will be filled someday. Now I do not know what that gap is. Hence, I do not know what would really fill that gap. So, what do I do? I start filling that gap with useless things, with things that will not fill the gap that will not treat the disease.”

“My real requirement is something else, but I start expecting a lot of miscellaneous things. My real disease is something else, but I start trying a lot of fake treatments.”

Expecting from others is one of those fake treatments. And that others include sons and daughters. So, what is the real problem? That I have an inner sense of being incomplete, which every human being experiences, every human being. That’s why I said it’s not only about parents. Every human being has that deep sense of lack of fulfillment. And every human being deserves fulfillment.

Are you getting it?

Now, there are two things. One, there is this disease. Second, there is the real treatment and then there is the false treatment. The man with the disease comes to you and says, “I want the false treatment.” The false treatment is, "Meet my expectations." If you really love that man, will you give him real treatment or false treatment?

Q: Real treatment.

AP: So, your parents, they deserve real treatment, not false treatment.

If you love your parents, then bring the Truth closer to them. Have the guts. And remember if you have love, then love gives you courage. Love itself gives you so much courage.

If you really love your parents then you must have the ability, the burning desire, to tell them that "Father, all these false treatments that you are trying will not help you. This game of expectations will not help you. Your real need is something else. And please allow me to bring that something else to you." That would be the real energetic action of love.

But that would require you to have a really clean heart, and an intense desire to help the parents. If you don’t have that cleanliness of heart and the desire that comes out of love, then you won’t do this.

Then you will say, “All right, he is asking for a fake medicine, why take so much trouble? He is asking for fake medicine, given him fake medicine.” That’s what most sons and daughters do.

Parents ask for fake medicines and sons and daughters keep giving fake medicines because there is no real love. Real love does not say that “You know, I’ll only say nice things to my papa. I’ll not say anything to my mother which she does not want to hear”. Real love says, “No, the Truth must be brought forward. Even if it doesn’t sound nice, even if some egos are hurt, even if somebody feels temporarily bad, it’s all right. I cannot give a false medicine, because I love. I will only give the real medicine.”

It depends on you now. What is the depth of your love towards your parents? If you don’t love them enough, just go ahead and allow their illusions to persist. If you love them enough, then bring the Truth to them. Take that as a litmus test. If you don’t love them enough, you’ll allow their illusions to persist. And if you really love them then you will bring the Truth to them. Is that clear?

Q: Sir, you said about the incompleteness. If I will not feel the incompleteness, then how will I work for anything?

AP: Why did God create the world? Not everything gets done out of incompleteness. When you do something because you are feeling small, incomplete, and unworthy, then that is called work and effort. There can be another source of action. You are acting because you are feeling joyful and beautiful, and full of energy, then that action is called playfulness.

But because you do not know playfulness, you think that one acts only when one feels miserable and incomplete. No. In fact, action arising out of misery and in-completion is always harmful action. There is another source of action. A beautiful source of action, “I am feeling so good that I am acting. Not that I am feeling so stinking bad that I am acting.”

See, let’s take an action, running. You could be running because you are afraid, so you are running away. Or you could be running just because you are feeling very good about your body. Have you experienced that? You go to a field of grass, and you just run. Has that happened? Run purposelessly, goal-lessly, aimlessly, without any need. Have you seen that happen? Have you done that sometimes?

A vast beautiful field and you are young, and your body is fit. And what do you do, you reach there, and you just start running. Not to get something, not to achieve something. Not for any purpose, but just because you are so joyful. So, action can come from that other source also, which is my inner sense of completion and joy.

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