Today’s blog is about acceptance which is a prerequisite for unconditional love.
Acceptance of what is, gives us clarity and can help us determine the right course of action so that we can feel secure enough to let unconditional love (which is innate in all of us) emerge.
During a coaching session with a lady struggling with emotional overeating from an early age, her mother came up.
Client: I just want her to die! Why can’t she just die? I want her to disappear from my life!
Me: How do you feel about wanting your mother to die?
Client: I don’t feel guilty. I don’t. I can’t take it anymore. I want it to stop but it won’t stop until she dies.
Me: I see. How would your life be different if your mother was dead?
Client: Oh, I would finally be able to enjoy life. I’d be able to spend time with the rest of my family without having to worry and stress about what she will do next; about how she will try to manipulate us to get more money although she makes more than enough renting out the property we have given her. I would be able to choose a holiday home or hotel and the criterion wouldn’t have to be whether there is a safe we can put our money and jewelry in so that my mother won’t steal it. Life would be so much easier…
Me: What’s stopping you from having this kind of holiday with the rest your family now?
Client: My brother would never agree to a vacation without our mother. We are a team, you know, my brother and I. We always stick together. I addition, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I shunned her. She would take it as punishment and I don’t want to punish her.
Me: If you are sure that you won’t “shun” her so as to punish her, why do you care what she sees it as?
Client: Well, if I look deep down inside of me, I can see that part of me wants to punish her. Not punish her, actually, but I want her to learn her lesson. She needs to learn that she is the mother and we are the children and not vice versa.
Me: What makes you think that you can teach her that lesson?
Client: She has to learn that lesson and leave me and my brother alone. I don’t want her to come between me and my brother any more. We love each other very much. I don’t like the way she manipulates him. She asks him for money and then he tells me and I give her money against my will only to maintain my relationship with my brother. This has to stop!
Me: So, what I’m hearing is that you want to teach a lesson to someone other than yourself, someone that you cannot control, that you want to have complete control over your relationship with your brother, despite the fact that your brother has a say in that relationship too, and that you want stop your mother from manipulating your brother, that is, control a relationship between two adults neither of whom is yourself. How likely are you to achieve all these things that do not depend entirely on you?
Me: Why does your mother “have to” learn that lesson? What if she doesn’t want to? Also, if you believe your brother loves you, why don’t you trust him and believe that he will continue to love you even if you don’t succumb to your mother’s demands. Why do you think that your mother can make him stop loving you? Last by not least, if your brother chooses to have an unhealthy relationship with your mother, who are you to choose for him? What about your mother’s and your brother’s free will? Why can’t they decide for themselves what kind of life they want to live?
(my client’s eyes sparkled)
Client: I can see it now! I can’t decide for them! I can only decide for myself!
Me: How do you feel with this realization?
Client: Empowered and relieved!
Me: Why do you feel empowered and why do you feel relieved?
Client: I feel empowered because I know it’s up to me to stop my mother’s financial abuse against me and relieved because it has finally dawned on me that I am only responsible for my choices and I can let others make their own.
Me: So, what is the next step? What course of action are you going to take?
Client: My mother doesn’t have to literally die. She can just be dead to me.
Me: How does this feel?
Client: Not very good. You know, my mother has good traits too. If it weren’t for her obsession with money, she’s a fun person to be with. I take after her when it comes to my bubbly personality.
Me: Then why can’t she be “dead” to you only when it comes to money? How would you feel with a “financial death” of hers?
(my client almost jumped out of her seat)
Me: I mean that, when it comes to your mother asking you for more money, you will have nothing to do with it. It will be as if she’s dead to you. If your brother wants to give her money, it’s his right to do so and it’s between them. You can tell your brother that you don’t want to hear anything about your mother and money. This kind of conversation will be forbidden between you two and you will have the right to veto if he starts talking about it.
Client: I love this! It feels right! She’s dead to me financially! Yes! That’s it! Oh, my lord, it feels good! If feels right! I can now feel all the love I have for her! I haven’t felt if in years. Now that she’s dead to me financially, I can love her for all the good things that she brings into my life… Why didn’t I think of that before?
Client: You know what? I’ll go to the garden right after our session and do a ritual. It will be the funeral of that aspect of my mom’s personality. I will be able to enjoy all the other aspects of her personality without grudges or apprehension. I will be able to enjoy and cherish all the other aspects of her personality! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We didn’t say much after that. I gave this woman space to let the love seep in. I could see the transformation of her face when all the tension just drained away and was replaced by the healing energy of unconditional love…
What I didn’t tell her at the time was that what actually died during our session was her expectation that her mother would change and that she would learn how to behave like a mother rather than a spoilt entitled little brat. By letting go of that expectation (acceptance of what is) and, at the same time, by refusing to continue to be the enabler of her mother’s inconsiderate behavior, she allowed all the love that she has for her to emerge irrespectively of her mother’s behavior.
This is what I call unconditional love…
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