I was thinking about this question the other day. What if they never change? I was talking with a friend that struggles with her relationship with her mom. She explained how over the years she has been constantly pushing her feelings down and making pretend that everything was okay.
However, recently she has started feeling like she was ready and willing for things to change. She explained how she could no longer hide from her emotions or from her past. She knows it will take time and first – she has her own healing to do. But she wants to be in a place where she can finally be honest about her relationship with her mom.
As we talked some more – she realized that underneath – she was afraid that her relationship with her mom may not change. She was afraid that her honesty may be too much for her mom – that she will hurt her mom’s feelings. She asked me, “What if our relationship doesn’t get any better? What if it never changes?
I can so relate to the feelings she was having. I can recall having similar thoughts about my parents. For many years I felt disconnected from them. I felt like they didn’t see me or hear me. It was frustrating. Each time I was going to be spending time with them, I would think to myself that this time was going to be different. They were going to be different. We are going to get along better. I am going to force them to see me and hear me. I am going to get them to understand.
Well as you can imagine, that didn’t go so well. It only caused me more grief, anger, and resentment.
What did help me was when I was able to accept my parents exactly how they were. It wasn’t always easy – but the more I came back to the reminder of “accepting them exactly how they were” it helped things shift.
I am not saying that they magically changed and that they always saw me or heard me – in many ways they did not change at all.
It was me that changed.
As I worked on my own healing, I realized that I needed to accept myself exactly how I was – first. This included me letting go of the past. I also needed to take responsibility for myself and my actions. Part of me was placing blame on my parents for where “I was or wasn’t in my life,” which was not fair to them.
There are going to be times when people don’t change. They are not ready to change. They will not meet us halfway. They will not see our point of view. This is something you need to be prepared for. All you can do is share your truth and how you feel. You do not have any control or responsibility for how someone else is going to react, respond or hear what you say. They are responsible for their reactions, responses, and how they hear things and you are responsible for yours.
It can be scary, to be honest, to share your truth and accept yourself and the people in your life exactly how they are – but it can also be freeing.
“The only life worth living is the one we take responsibility for choosing.” Alexandra Stoddard.