When you accept your most difficult relationships, unconditionally, you will have opened the door to accept yourself with the same degree of freedom.
Humanity is under great pressure, and this affects almost all aspects of our life, particularly our close relationships. Faced with multiple day to day demands, our relationships can become fraught with tension and conflict.
In general, what we are living today is largely the result of past experiences. The blessing is to realize that all experiences are filled with meaning and have a particular purpose: our personal learning and evolution. On this path, there is an open invitation to live free from what can imprison us…from attachments to things, people, harmful habits, and among them, attachment to physical and emotional pain. Although it may sound strange, some people end up becoming addicted to pain, living eternal suffering in their relationships, sometimes as a victim, and other times as a victimizer. Two roles that feed each other on fear, which is just the opposite of love.
The greatest pain that occurs in relationships comes from creating or sustaining a judgment about what the other person is, or should be at every moment of his or her life. We do not generally accept unconditionally (meaning, without any judgment) who the other person is. We do not completely approve of what the other person does, precisely because it does not correspond to the expectations we have about him or her. Ultimately, we do not accept them for who they are, nor do we fully allow them to express themselves as they please, as we go through life trying to change them to fit our model of how they should act, be, or think. Let’s exemplify this with a real-life story that took place in Colombia.
Every experience, in the end, has a meaning
One afternoon, a little four-year-old girl was sitting on a chair in her house trying to learn a famous fable, which was the task her teacher had left her. As much as she tried, she did her best to memorize the phrases and could not assimilate them. Suddenly, she cried in frustration and her mother came up to her and said, “Can you tell me why you cry? This is something so easy, it is time for you to have learned it!”. The girl looked up and observed her mother who was standing next to her and with evident anger on her face. The fear that the girl felt that day, and the memories of that experience, would mark her life forever. In the end, she never managed to learn the fable, but the experience left a mark that would affect his adult life.
At this point in the story, you have probably taken a side, tilted towards defending and protecting the girl from such an aggressive mother. What you don’t know yet is the hidden part of the story. How was the mother’s life? How did her mother grow up to display this type of behavior, not managing her own emotions assertively, let alone helping her daughter manage hers? Was she even aware of the impact that her words were having on the girl? Here’s the missing part of this story: the little girl’s mother had been raised in a rural setting. She was the eldest of a large family of 10 children, so her father demanded from her responsibility for her own behavior, and also for that of her younger siblings. If any of them did anything that upset the father, she would get in trouble as well. This strict discipline wounded her deeply, and she carried those scars into her own adult life.
Acceptance: a light in our paths
Many times we do not really know what is behind each person’s story, but we are quick to assume. In our story, the mother had been treated quite strictly by her father and, although he loved his little daughter, many times he could not control all the anger inside him, and his daughter suffered the consequences.
Many years went by and the girl studying the fable grew up and became a teacher. One day in one of her classes, a student expressed great discomfort, since she was intolerant and strict in her way of teaching. Reflecting on this situation, she looked for clarity and wisdom in her heart to be able to do her job better. Suddenly, the answer came in the form of images of some old memories. Now, she remembered that scene from the fable. There she realized that she had been disrespected in her learning speed, and also realized that she was repeating the same pattern that she had lived with her mother, but this time in her own relationships.
Then she remembered his mother’s story. She thought, “Now I understand why my mother was so demanding and aggressive towards me. She lived the same experience at the hands of her father. Now I understand what happened. She repeated my grandfather’s pattern and I am now repeating the same ancient pattern as well. I do no longer have to disrespect my own learning processes and neither that of others. Each human being learns in different ways and at different speeds. I decide right now to forgive myself for having held this grudge against my mother and I choose to forgive her”.
After this healing process, she opened the door of acceptance by bringing light to her personal story. Accepting did not mean that she agreed with the facts, but that now she chose to let go of all the judgments she had formed about her mother, to then regain her own inner peace and freedom. After grasping what was really behind her own unconscious behavior and that of her mother, she looked at her mother with compassion. She knew her mother was innocent, repeating ancient patterns without even being aware of them.
Only when you allow others to be who they want and choose to be, you give yourself permission to be free. When you accept your most conflictive relationships unconditionally, without trying to change them, you will have opened the door to accept yourself with the same degree and depth of freedom.
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