My Dear Beloved Family Member,
You are here out of love for me to help me in my time of need to get my life and house in order and for that I am more grateful than paltry words can even express. In the short time that you have been here this week you have helped me immeasurably. I am incredibly grateful. I love you.
I am also trying very hard to take in the lessons that you are here to teach me. People say that people come into your life to be a blessing or a lesson. I think that this may be true, but the truth is that the two are not mutually exclusive and some, most even, are both. You, my darling, are definitely both. The funny thing is that the lessons that I am taking from our time together are not the ones that you thought you came here to teach.
You preach with evangelical zeal about your beliefs and opinions with such ferocity that you seem to be deaf to the beliefs and opinions of those that you are trying to convert. I feel that you wield your convictions with great passion and authority to bring as many people as possible to the light of your ideals. I love your passion and faith. But I need for you to take the lesson from me that, after a few times, the passion that you’re are wielding with such enthusiasm stops feeling like an offering of a gift and begins to feel like a club.
In my opinion, after you have given me your truth 2 or 3 times, I have either accepted it or not. Your continued efforts to “improve” me indicate to me a couple of things. First, you might think that I’m not smart enough to pick up what you’re laying down. I don’t believe that you think that I am stupid, but I want you to know that that is the message that I am recieving from you sometimes when you tell me AGAIN what you think I should be doing differently or better.
Second, my opinions and beliefs on that subject are invalid in a way that yours are not. You are very righteous in your convictions. You have found your path and it is a glorious one. I can see why you wish to share it. But it is not my path. I am forging my own path to my own truth. AND IT IS JUST AS VALID AS YOURS. As much as you believe in the validity of your path, I believe in the validity of your path. I expect the same in return or it makes it very hard to have any true exchange of ideas and thought. When I hear you proclaim that something “is the TRUTH and is REAL” I know that it is. For you. But it may not be for everyone else and I need you to allow for the possibility that yours is not the only way.
Third, when you continuously bring up the same “issues” that you feel I need to change, you are letting me know that that is the only thing about me of value or worthiness to you. When you dismiss my other activities as a nice hobby or something not really worth doing, you are rejecting the parts of me that you deem aren’t of import. This is very hurtful and does not convert me to your cause. In fact, it has the opposite effect. I will tell you, and this is the TRUTH and this is REAL, that in the heat of our argument last night, I very nearly asked you to leave my house. Because, regardless of the condition it is in, I will be treated with respect and dignity in my own home. That is a condition that I place upon your being here. The reason that I didn’t is because I know that the place you are coming from is one of love and good intentions. I want you to take the lesson that your message is being lost by the method of delivery.
You were correct in some parts of your rejection of my evaluation of my own shortcomings and ways of dealing with them. I am not “unique.” So take this information to heart, because I can guarantee that I am not the only one who is feeling this from you. Many people that I know, in and out of our family, are reluctant to instigate a confrontation, especially with someone who doesn’t seem able to really engage in an equal exchange.
If you offer me the gift of your wisdom from your experience, I cherish it. I will take it in my heart as a treasured keepsake from a loved one and use it if it fits or works for me. I hear you and I am receptive.
If you again offer it, I am appreciative, a little less receptive, but I still hear you.
The third time, I will begin to resist your offering and will not be receptive. The loudness of your actions begins to drown out my ability to hear your words.
If you continue to push your offering on me, then I know that the offering is not about me, but primarily about you getting your way. You are a very intense person and many people, as I have in the past, step back and allow you to sail on by on the wind of your breath. But, in my home, with regard to my self and my child, it is my sacred task to defend our hearts from attacks of any kind, no matter how well intentioned. So, save your breath and get down and row with me.
I have opened my home and my heart to you to reveal my greatest failings and some of my most shameful secrets. In every way possible I am at the most vulnerable place that I have ever been in my life. I am trusting you to take care of me and treat my heart and mind as gently as you can.
I do not feel accepted by you as I am. I feel judged and found lacking. This negativity is not conducive to growth. In fact, my reaction to it is to close off, shut down, and resist you with all of the same stubbornness and zeal that you push with. We are from the same bloodstock after all. I am sharing with you not from a place of anger, but from a place of love. Because I do love you and, especially right now, I need you. But, I am not willing to pay the toll that you seem to want to exact from me in payment for the help.
I will, if pushed enough, refuse your help, even as badly as I need it. I hope you can accept this offering of my truth from the place it is intended, which is a place of love and peace and connection.
As I accept the lessons that I am learning from you about how to defend my convictions, assert myself, and maintain my boundaries, while still advocating with love.
Thank you for the lessons.