If you want love in your life, you have to accept what love is. The definition of love is ‘Unconditional, Nonjudgemental Acceptance’. Truly loving someone means accepting them as they are now and not for what they will be when they let you change them. Loving someone means accepting that at their core, they have value just as they are. Accepting that how they present themselves, their appearance and personality quirks are just a manifestation of how they deal with life. Truly loving someone may mean that to have them in your life and to have peace in your heart, you’ll have to alter your perspective and expectations.
Olivia’s mother Deana had an unpleasant sense of humor. Deana found it entertaining to embarrass Olivia by sharing personal information at inappropriate times with inappropriate people. To welcome a new family to the neighborhood, Deana hosted a casual get-together. In front of this room full of strangers, Deana announced, “Olivia was dating a lawyer, but he just dumped her.” This was true, nobody’s business but true. What she hadn’t mentioned was the reason that the boyfriend dumped Olivia was that she wasn’t supportive of what appeared to be his illegal activity. After experiencing years of what she felt were humiliating betrayals, Olivia finally realized that, no matter what she did or said, she would never change her mother’s behavior. Olivia didn’t want to cut her mother out of her life completely, but she knew that to keep her own emotional equilibrium, she would have to change her own behavior. She chose to stop sharing the personal details of her life with her mother.
It broke her heart to know that they would never have the kind of close relationship that she had literally dreamt of. It took immense strength and courage for Olivia to let go of having the type of relationship that she wanted and to open herself to something completely different. She knew that her mother was kind, loving and giving, and Olivia choose to focus on these positive attributes. When Olivia became ill, her mother thought nothing of driving 3 hours each way to take her to a specialist. When the economy crashed and Olivia was about to lose her home, her mother gifted her with enough to cover her overdue house payments. She was not a wealthy woman, and this was a significant portion of her retirement fund. When Olivia had a cold, her mother made soup.
What evolved over the next few years was most interesting. When I first met Olivia, she would go on and on listing her mother’s betrayals. Now she went on and on about her mother’s accomplishments and the positive effects that she had on many different people. When Olivia forced herself to let go of what she wanted and accepted her mother as she was, things changed. The stress, anxiety and frustration that Olivia had felt about their relationship evaporated. Now when she talks about her mother, you can feel the love that she has in her heart. Olivia has accepted that she will always carry a bit of sadness about not having the mother/daughter relationship that she wants. But she has let go of her need to remember each and every slight and has found a depth of connection and love that she never expected.
Dead people say: When you let go of what you want and accept what is, you’ll find a new peace in your heart, and more joy from the love that you have.