When someone you love is hurtful, we often react in a way that isn’t healthy for us. And this can become a lifelong habit that is difficult to change.
Every week Elizabeth Heise’s Friday Stories drop into my inbox. Her post, “Sweet Little Lies,” immediately drew me in as I sang the refrain in my head. However, I saw an aspect of myself that I had utterly ignored halfway through.
The subsequent realization was that I was a liar too! OMG! Honesty is one of my BIG values. And I thought I was honoring it throughout my life. Instead, I was telling sweet little lies to try and make the people in my life love me. Every husband (three, so far) was the same. Sacrificing myself while hoping they would love me.
Here’s how my realization played out.
This morning’s Ten Percent Happier meditation was “Delighting in Pleasure.” As I chose to get a big hug as my pleasure thought, all I could do was cry. I was thinking about the beautiful hugs my Dad gave me, especially in his last few years. I stumbled through the 10-minute meditation and then began my Morning Pages. Of course, this experience was my focus.
During the next thirty minutes, the natural source of pain emerged. I’d spent my entire life sacrificing myself to get Mom to love me.
An Example of Patterning
What was the first thing Mom said to me when I visited her last week in the rehabilitation facility?
“I didn’t think you were coming back.”
She said this before in a fearful way. But, this time, her tone reeked with anger.
Settling into familiar patterns, I was shocked but lied about it. That is, I didn’t express it. Instead, I ignored the remark, pushing it down. Furthermore, I worked at lifting Mom’s mood.
An Opportunity to Grow
Through more journaling and self-care, I made a discovery. There is a better way to reply to hurtful comments from Mom. So I wrote down my plan, rehearsed it, and reminded myself to come from a place of love.
“That hurt my feelings, Mom.”
Then I practice silence. Slowly, by allowing and surrendering, I began feeling powerful and hopeful. Once again, I remembered there is one and only one person we can change – ourselves.
A smile begins to form. The feeling of loving-kindness fills my heart, and I can feel the former sensation of sacrifice drifting away. In its place is hope.
Sometimes a Single Step is Crucial
By saying what I felt, a new door opened up. I stepped through to a place of happiness.
Each step brings us closer to the change we seek.