Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

A reader asks an important question about family

Q: If it is true that our soul chooses our parents, why do we choose the people we do?

A Big Picture Perspective

From a metaphysical perspective, the soul “chooses” our parents. I placed quotes around “chooses” because the arrangement is not about whom we’ll like, rather it has everything to do with setting the stage for our growth. The family of origin evokes and provokes what will be easy for us and what will be challenging; what we want to emulate and what we do not choose to repeat in our lives.

It’s obvious for us to incorporate the admirable things about our parents into our lives. Additionally, the things we do not like or respect about our parents are very important; they are soulful reminders about how we intend to evolve ourselves by being different from them.

The soul magnetizes the genetics it needs for this life from our biological parents. Where they live and their cultural, religious, ethnic, socio-economic priorities form another part of the intentional scenario. Some of it will resonate for us and some will not. We get to discover and ultimately to choose what works for us.

If you are adopted, your genetic “software” is from your biological parents, and the environmental “software” comes from your adopted parents.

Hard-wired to Succeed

The spiritual perspective is that no matter what life brings, no matter the circumstances of our childhood, we are born with whatever it will take to master the progress our soul intends. And if for whatever reasons we don’t, we’ll always be given more opportunities. Everyone has skills to contribute and challenges to overcome. The impetus from our soul, the fact that we are wired for compassion and kindness, and the gift of free will move us toward resolving difficulties we may have experienced and/or caused in this or any other lifetime.

A Forever Gift

Becoming self-aware and healing old patterns upgrade the possibilities for our lives and make a huge contribution to the betterment of humanity. One of the most positive by-products of doing our internal “homework” is that we then have the skills to not repeat less than noble patterns as we raise our children. What a forever gift we get to give future generations.

Accepting Our Realities

If you are curious to learn a bit more about why you chose your parents, here is one of my favorite perspective-shifting exercises. This exercise can inspire you to let go of wanting your parents to be different from who they are or were. You’ll see their role in a new light, one which allows you to glimpse the big picture perfection in having “chosen” these parents.

Make two columns on a blank piece of paper. At the top of one of them write “Mom” and at the top of the other one write “Dad.”

Under each of their names, make a list of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors which you wish they had either more of or less of as you grew up. For example, you might have wanted them to be more affectionate or less critical, or more open-minded.

This is not about bashing your parents. Trust the process of this exercise and brainstorm your lists. When you are done, pause and carefully review what you have written.

Parting Advice

From a metaphysical perspective, this is the list of qualities you are intending to refine and/or develop in yourself this life. In the big picture, our parents are actually an aspect of the Universe supporting us to learn something important for our own upgrade and uplift.

But if you are struggling with old hurts and self-defeating patterns, remember, too, it is always beneficial to seek professional help.