Growing up and then spreading our wings to move away from the family cocoon, this is what we are all destined to do. This adventure, which we contemplate with both hope and apprehension, can lead us to remote areas that make us lose sight of what we once were. As we go our separate ways, we inevitably widen the gap between our family and ourselves. As we grow older, we realize that the cultural codes and values of these spheres are very different, or even simply opposed. How do we deal with these conflicting realities? To whom should we give our loyalty? To those who feed us today or those who did so yesterday? In trying to please everyone, we end up losing ourselves a bit.
This process of distancing or differentiating ourselves from our loved ones is quite natural, but we still need to define the boundaries of this gap. Wanting to be independent and no longer obeying orders go hand in hand. Receiving food when we are little is above all the reward for our submission to the rules of the house. It is normal that as you grow up – as you earn your living – you are no longer subservient to the arbitrary but often just rules of a tribe called family. Our obedience would finally go where our belly could be satiated. This could be what we would call the survival instinct, should we then look for any ethics in it?
Choosing a new clan, whether it is the one of our professional or intimate environment, should not force us to deny our past. To wipe out our memories is to live in amnesia. However, can we really play the balancing act between two worlds that are hostile to each other? If one cannot live in oblivion, one could just as easily be caught up in a form of schizophrenia.
The only allegiance that counts is to our own values, whether or not they have been influenced by our family or our adult life. Our job and our family, although often the keystone of our livelihood, should not replace what we hold most dear: our personal conscience. Our ability to discern between what is right and wrong for us in terms of our values should be our only compass, even if we receive reproaches from all sides. It is difficult to live with the guilt of having failed our own, but it is even more regrettable to miss out on our life for fear of displeasing or disappointing.