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My mother always said…

In a sense, every family is a little Prim England with its own traditions. They can relate to relationships, leisure, life… Tried and tested by generations, such rules simplify life. Unless we forget to look at tradition through the prism of modernity

My mother always said that the meat should be salted at the end of cooking, the Windows should be washed twice a year, and my husband should not be left alone with his best friend. She taught me how to cut slices of sausage into two pieces before frying them, be sure to eat soups for lunch, and most importantly – to fulfill their promises.

Until now, I – not the most obedient daughter in the world – fulfill these covenants, perceive them as a part of myself. I do not allow the abandonment of all these soups, Windows and promises. Because that’s what makes me whole, and our relationship with mom – strong. It’s traditional. With their help, my mother gave me something that gave her own life more convenience and security. And she did it out of love for me.

Her mother also passed on to her traditions: spinning wool, caring for her alcoholic husband and manipulating others with the help of their diseases. Considering that the wool for knitting, my mother, and with her social skills and my dad’s all right – these traditions she enjoys. She has to create her own behavioral skills that are more useful in her real situation than the experience of her ancestors.

I have to do the same. For example, I create a tradition of independent literary activity or the recruitment of professionals for repair. My parents can’t do that. And they shouldn’t teach me anything that might come in handy, because otherwise my life would be an exact copy of their life, and that’s impossible.

This is the creation of copies and is the meaning of any tradition: act in the same way as your ancestors did, and you will not be mistaken. Positive in its essence, aimed at survival training is not always justified in reality. Because the reality is changing – and old skills may be unnecessary, useless, and even frankly harmful.

So traditions can be functional and dysfunctional.

The first perform their direct function: the adaptation of future generations to life, their survival in the best way. In rural areas it can be traditions associated with the care of domestic animals, work in the field and connection of the family into one great community of workers. This is functional: the more people in the family, the more work they will do, the better their life will be, depending on the results of this work. In the city, these skills are already dysfunctional: a large family in a small apartment will not be an effective working contract, but rather will turn into a pack of people who do not feel great sympathy for each other. In the reality of a big city, isolation is effective.

This is the case with any other tradition. Created in certain conditions, aimed at better adaptation to the environment, in a different environment, the tradition ceases to work. For example, today we can clearly see dysfunctional traditions left over from the times of scarcity. Food supplies that no one will ever eat. The hoarding of the type “don’t throw it away, and suddenly come in handy someday, this is a good thing.” We hold on to a bad doctor like no other, loyal to a particular brand of product (for the same reason), go to a bad club (for incomprehensible reasons). We make this choice without thinking – just because we were taught this way, such traditions were passed on, and my mother always said…

Thanks to family traditions, our life can become better and worse. In order to evaluate the skills transferred to us and to understand whether it is worth leaving them in your own life in the same form, you need a process called “awareness of introjections.” Intreccia is that it is reported a small us as truth, and what little we as truth and perceived. The grass is green, the sky is blue, and in this life you need to stay alert and do not believe anyone: all these statements, sounding from the favorite parental lips, become the absolute truth. So we begin to live – until we understand that the phrases “the Earth revolves around the Sun” and “if you do not clean the toilet twice a day, your husband will leave you” have the same value in our heads.

In order to notice these ineffective beliefs, you need a so-called “monad”, that is, the experience of life outside the family. This is an independent way of life, in which we have the opportunity to understand, but is it really necessary to prepare daily three-course meals? Do I like not trust anyone? Do I agree to live my whole life surrounded by two dogs and three cats, or do I really have these troubles?

This is called awareness of introjections. To overestimate the rules and traditions learned from the parent family, it is necessary to correct unnecessary settings. After all, each of us, in turn, has a responsibility to create new, more useful behaviors and pass them on to our children in the form of traditions – and with their help to create our own, strong and happy family.

So listen to your mother. But live separately.

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