Of course, the question looms, “What is the book about?” I am busy preparing video-based lessons to communicate multiple answers to that question. I have prepared a number of promotional statements. I have given interviews, but there is nothing like taking a deep dive into the text to pull out lessons for daily living.
The short answer is that the book is a guide to overcoming the progressive dissatisfaction that many experience in their lives. You know what I’m talking about–that feeling that you are only partially achieving or that something is missing. That feeling that the game is rigged, and you’re not even on the right playing field. The more you work and figure out, the more you seem to end up with less than your effort deserved. “They” keep telling you to work hard, and you will be a star. Yet, they never tell you HOW.
Who’s To Blame
One of the most controversial constructs in the book is the suggestion that you begin with placing blame. Most people feel discomfort around placing blame because it tends to release you from your responsibility. I argue that you must walk through the valley of blame in order to trace the generational origins of your dissatisfaction and your responsibility. Said another way, the blame begins with your parents. ! Hence, the need for the guide. Your challenge is to mature into an adulthood that honors your parents while building in competence and capacity that you were never taught or were taught mixed with error.
Allow me to explain through one of the analogies presented in the book: The Parental Obligation requiring Redress
I have encountered over a thousand students and hundreds of clients besides the people I encounter in daily interactions. They fall into two groups for the purposes of this analogy. Rarely do I find an individual that is authentically integrated and free from the “supposed to.” Most are either star or wallflower in any given social situation. We sometimes mistake these people as introverts or extroverts, but what is expressed is not personality. It is unsustainable politeness, otherwise known as vanity, in the context of the situation. It is a lack of authenticity that is unsettling even to the actor.
As a Star, you see yourself as gifted, independent, and gorgeous. You take care of tasks with precision, efficacy, and grace. You are the person who takes charge. You are the right hand of the matriarch or the boss. You are the advocate, the negotiator, and the lead.
As a Wallflower, you are simple, dependent, and homely. You don’t have a clear sense of who you are. You are passively defined by the situation or relationship you are her daughter, his co-worker, her niece, his supervisor, or her granddaughter. You are not an individual. You are the introverted, contemplative, observer. You are quiet, fearful, and protective.
You would explain that different situations require different approaches. You would say, “Sometimes I am a star. Sometimes I am a wallflower.” My argument is that this is not the definition of genuineness. The deception is that you genuinely believe that this is acceptable as the characteristic behaviors of authenticity. The #deceptionsBook offers another option.
The problem is the lack of integration toward adulthood. Your parents had one job: to provide you with a safe place, information, and rehearsal to mature into a considerate, competent, confident adult. Yet, they stunted your growth with phrases like, “No matter how old you get, you are always my child,” or “As long as you live under my roof…” In response, you either acquiesced or rebelled. Both disengaged your reason and denied you the opportunity to discuss your decision-making process in rational ways. Worse, you perpetuate that infancy through your self-talk. Worst, you communicate that disconnect to your children, nieces, and other young people.
Like the wayward teen that grows to be the prim, proper, prudish matriarch, your logic is based on experience and emotion rather than these integrated with research and reason. So, as a pledge is slave to the hero that saved his life, you are obligated to put your aspirations on hold in order to repay the debt owed to your parents. This deception supports distractions and self-medicating behaviors, which resolve to disillusionment and distrust of yourself and the process. This makes it harder for new knowledge and collaboration to author new realities for you. Rather than expand beyond the parental relationship, you remain stuck in that loop believing that you honor your parents by holding them blameless. “They did the best they could,” and “They did what they knew.”
The #deceptionsBook challenges this relationship to suggest that you honor your parents through your achievement of YOUR aspirations. You honor their legacy by building upon it for the next generation. The mechanism for this is mature integration of their contribution in the context of intentional choices not based in obligation. You must learn beyond their lessons.
Transition into Adulthood
You may disagree with my conclusions. You may not see yourself in this analogy, but I challenge you to review your version of adulthood according to the following indicators. They suggest an adulthood that recognizes the impact of your life on generations to come.
- Identify the felt obligations. Realize your obligation to pay forward rather to pay back parents.
- Identify the lessons that they were insistent on teaching you as a way to achieve their own parental redress. Apply the lessons in your context. Seek greater competence beyond those lessons.
- Separate your goals for adulthood from all felt obligations. Identify the learning, network, and capacity required for you to live and “parent” sustainably. Establish new goals separate from, yet extending your parent’s learning, network, and capacity.
- Re-establish your adult relationship WITH and in relationship TO your parents. WITH does not a requirement to communicate intimately just as your relationship with any other person does not require emotional intimacy. It is what you hold the parent responsible for. TO allows you to make the comparison between you and your parents. Evaluate objectively the results of your choices. Then, beyond comparison with your parents, reflect on your achievement compared to your goals as the ideal.
- Effectively remove the hero worship or expectations of the parental obligation. Hold them accountable for their choices and behaviors. Limit any draining of energy. Seek to feed on energy from multiple mentors, which may include the mentors formerly known as parents.
The #deceptionsBook is available everywhere. Get your copy here.