Acceptance and Change

Dear Nephew,

Thank you for sharing your insights with me.  I’m happy for you that you can take responsibility for those things in your life which you have done and still understand that much of what happens in our lives (especially our childhood) is without our input and outside of our control.  It’s very releasing to forgive ourselves  for our past mistakes, and for those things which we have undeservedly held against ourselves.

Now you are asking me how you can shape your daughter’s response to your life and her own life as it was changed through you.

My quick answer?  You cannot!

We each look at life through our own filters.  In some circumstances, these filters may be our best protection.  With them we create distance when it hurts too much to be close; a rosy glow when we can’t face reality; and sometimes a dark cloud through which we view life until we are able to wipe away the mist and reach our own happiness and contentment.  When we are ready to leave them behind, we will.  No one can do that for us.

If you were to ask me what is the most important thing in your journey with your daughter…I would say that it is unconditional acceptance.

One of my favorite quotes is by Katherine Mansfield, “Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. ”  I truly believe this.

Look back on your life and superimpose such loving acceptance over the snapshots that you remember.  Would it have made a difference?   Of course!  The power of such love changes everything.

And so I believe that if you can forget what you think your daughter should do,  if you refrain from weighing her down with  your aspirations for her life; you will see your relationship blossom.  It may be slow. And it may not work.  Yet your acceptance will relieve both of you from incredible pressure.

In her own time, at her own pace, and as she is able to, she will find her acceptance of her life as it is, and, hopefully, of your place in it.   You can’t hasten her journey.  It is hers.  The only possible influence you may have in her change is by the changes you have made  yourself.  This is an additional benefit of your life changes, not a goal.

Your relationship will never be the same as before you left.  She is no long fourteen years old.  She is no longer innocent.  And she has been hurt in ways that you may not comprehend.  You aren’t the same man, either.  What you can wish for is to build a new bond between the two of you that will be based on who you are today.  That bond will be strengthened by the loving memories that each of you have of the past.  It will be tempered by the difficulties you have encountered.  And it can flourish and grow if you have the patience to wait and accept.

I am always hoping for the best for you.


P. S.  Be careful when you ask me for advice.  You know that I always have an opinion:)

November, 2011,

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