How do I deal with my annoying parents? They're always comparing me with more successful people and I'm just not naturally smart and talented.
To deal with your annoying parents learn to recognize how smart and talented you are. If you can stop being annoyed by your parents, then you are smart and talented indeed. Learning to react differently to your parents is a talent you can develop. Learning not to compare yourself to other people is also a talent you can develop, even if your parents don’t have such a talent.
The hardest part about learning not to be annoyed by your parents is that until you learn it the process is annoying. The trick is to pay attention to how you get annoyed. Parents have unique and natural talents for annoying their children. Intentionally and unintentionally they annoy you with looks, gestures, tone of voice, and most pointedly with what they say and do. Before you can get over being annoyed by them you have to build your tolerance for their annoyances.
Practice watching your reaction and taking complete responsibility for getting annoyed. Blaming parents for being annoying gives them all the power. When you recognize that you are getting annoyed, not that they are annoying you you have made great progress. The next step is to change your reaction to being annoyed. When you notice yourself becoming annoyed, notice your reaction. Notice what you think and what you do. Initial reactions happen lightning quick, rolling your eyes or answering in the wrong tone of voice can escalate the annoyance even before you notice that you are annoyed. By paying attention to your reactions you can learn to be more intentional with how you respond. If you learn to respond instead of react you have made fantastic progress.
The added ingredient that you need in your response that is often unavailable in a reaction is compassion. Compassion is a skill and talent that you can develop both for yourself and for your annoying parents. To practice for yourself pay attention to all the things you think about yourself and see how they hurt. Try not to think hurtful things about yourself. When you notice that happening, remember that you need to be nicer to yourself. When you get good at being nicer to yourself in your own thoughts you will be more aware of when others, including your parents are being unkind in their words and actions.
To practice compassion for your parents, try to imagine that they love you and want what is best for you. Remember that your suffering causes them to suffer. Remember that they don’t know how best to respond to you or how to motivate you. Remember that they are still learning how to live a happy life just like you are. Imagine that they compare themselves to others all the time too and that leads them to more suffering. Even when you are annoyed, try to wish for them to suffer less.
As you practice being aware of your reaction to your parents and practice compassion for yourself you will grow in smarts and talent in this very important area of life. When you are happy with who you are, no comparisons can hurt you. That takes time, practice and patience. Keep practicing, your parents will surely continue to provide you with many opportunities to build your skills.