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Choosing to love, no matter what

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Family relations can be so complex sometimes. It's not unusual for family members to feel the need to distance themselves from one another for varying periods of time during the heat of a misunderstanding. During such times, it helps to remind ourselves that these (more often than not) temporary reprieves we sometimes take can provide breathing room for us and allows us to clear our stories about one another.

Accepting ourselves and our family members during these necessary withdrawals from each other (they must be necessary for why else would they be?) allows us to practice kindness – towards ourselves, as well as towards the family member we feel estranged from.

Do you recall how bad it felt inside the last time you were mad at a close family member? Fostering those sorts of feelings with angry thoughts about someone we love is not a kind way to treat ourselves, in my opinion! 🙂

It works better to decide that the distance between us is a needed time of healing and clearing. We might even choose to see a family members distancing from us as a loving act! How loving of them to take space from us rather than to go on inflicting their painful story on us. How thoughtful of them to spare us from their unhappiness with us! Yes, taking space from one another can provide tremendous relief if we don't have to turn it into a problem that needs to be judged and fixed.

And it helps too to remember that our unhappiness with others (and theirs with us) is never because of what they did or didn't do, but is caused instead because of what we tell ourselves about their doings (or lack thereof)!

If we decide that they are doing what they do TO us, or AGAINST us, we suffer. We feel like a victim. When we understand that they do what they do because they believe what they think, i.e., their own unhappy story about us, we are free to go on loving them (and ourselves!) regardless of how they feel towards us at the moment.

It's possible then to arrive at a place inside us of truly feeling that there is nothing they can do that can stop us from loving them – because we understand that to stay mad at them hurts us so much more.

Blessings, Lynne

5 Responses

  1. Ah, nice to hear from you again, Rahul! Thanks for sharing.

    Since I don’t know your particulars, I cannot speak directly to your situation – but here are some generals based on the understanding that it is our story about what they do or did to us that causes our unhappiness, not their doings. When we understand that there are no mistakes, that people are the way they are because of what they believe, then we can stop taking their doings so personally. We have come to suspect that the things they say or do that trigger us negatively only do so because there’s some part of us that fears they may be right. (Often it’s our own judgment of ourselves that they are mirroring to us in the things they say or do, especially the things they do that triggers a big reaction in us.)

    With that said here are some generalities in answer to your question about how much to share, etc. when returning after time away …

    Sharing our limiting story with a family member is not often really necessary, and may only elicit some sort of defensive response from them which then sends us rocking again.

    At the same time it’s not necessary to be silently passive either. A happy medium might sound something like this:
    “I have missed you very much. I love you and wanted to see you … Thank you for allowing me the space I needed to sort things through in my own mind. I feel much clearer now – enough to know that our relationship matters to me. That is why I am here.”

    We know we are ready to be in their company again when we find we are willing to let go of the need to convince them that we are right. Yet we understand that they may still need to be right. We don’t mind. Once we have let go of the need to get them to understand us or validate us, we can accept them where they are. We no longer need their approval or acceptance, and that leaves us free to accept and approve of ourselves, AND them! (Many times I have noticed how often we demand things such as validity, acceptance, love, forgiveness, etc, from them that we refuse to give them, or ourselves!)

    Hope this is helpful,
    Blessings, Lynne

  2. Dear Lynne

    I have felt such need to distance myself in past. However, i always struggled’
    Should one convey the withdrawals to the family members actively or should it be a silent passive act?
    And if one was to convey the ‘distancing act’, how to do so without throwing a ‘victim sounding’ story at them.

    Yours
    Rahul

  3. Lynne, You have created a very safe place here for me to feel comfortable to share my own personal ways of seeing things. As I share, it gives me a chance to really reflect on how I actually do see and perceive things… it is a win-win.

  4. Thanks again Lynne for your candid truth. Living in our victim mindsets truly is unconscious living. It really helped me to be forgiving of myself and those I felt victimized by when I saw that when flying blind, we are not able to choose loving actions…only a conscious person outside of playing their victim role can choose to love. Peace and friendship, Kate

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