Cannabis became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.

Prime Minister Trudeau showed leadership to make this happen. The decision to legalize the drug has both supporters and critics. Despite the opposition, our Prime Minister pushed forward. There are many facts on both sides of the debate about whether or not this is a good decision, but facts were not the only factors influencing the leadership of our Prime Minister.

Leadership is influenced by emotions. Emotional patterns develop within our families of origin. Two common emotional patterns that show up in families are Repeating and Compensating.


The following are examples of repeating emotional patterns from previous generations:

“I had to work hard as a child. I am going to be sure that my children have a strong work ethic.”

“All of the firstborn men on my fathers side of the family went on to lead their own companies.”

“For generations, our family business has ensured to operate without taking on any debt.”


Compensating patterns are emotionally influenced by the past. We often go out of our way to avoid repeating:

“My father didn’t allow me to date until after I graduated high school. Therefore, my children can see who they like, when they like.”

“My grandmother was a hoarder, I am a minimalist.”

“My father was an alcoholic, I get upset if my husband even looks at a drink.”

Emotional compensation show’s up when we want to right the perceived wrong of a previous generation. Justin Trudeau spoke of his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, getting his brother off of charges for illegally possessing marijuana. Despite any of the facts for pro-legalization Prime Minister Trudeau emotionally described the current system as being “fundamentally unfair” because many people don’t have the resources or political connections to get off of charges. How much of the drive to legalize was based on a careful analysis of the facts for and against vs. emotional compensation?

How might your leadership be influenced by repeating patterns in your family of origin?

Where might you be emotionally compensating vs. carefully examining the facts?