Mom wrote the following letter to my brother, Michael, on March 30, 1999 after a bit of a kerfuffle over her working to get a better understanding of her true self. Born in 1910, she was raised to put everyone else’s interests first, to keep everything on a steady keel, whatever it took. Although she & Dad had a natural partnership, with deep listening and give & take on both sides, that was not her norm with others, especially with her children.
Background ~ Mike had been upset by a joint communication Mom had sent to all of her children & our spouses, as well as still unhappy with something that had happened two years earlier. And, based on their previous experience of Mom, it was genuinely impossible for my sibs or Kerry to get their heads around a respectfully assertive mother seeking greater clarity about what herself tick.
Your letter was received. Here are a few of my thoughts.
Don’t let the fall out of a few heated moments (referring to a ruckus that happened in early summer 1997) taint your life. Set aside the unintended hurt and the disagreement, and focus on the intentional love. I find comfort that no one intended to be hurtful.
I have a psychologist counselor,a financial counselor, and spiritual counselors. John is an influence, Elsa is an influence, and Peter is an influence, along with “Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life” by Nathaniel Branden, Stephen Covey, John Bradshaw and other authors. I enclose a list of Branden quotations.
The key issue in this quest for self is me, not Elsa, not Kerry.
It is important to ask”Why” rather than lash out if people say or do disturbing things.
Asking “Why” acknowledges the possibility of different point of view. It does not mean agreeing with the response.
A reply is not necessarily a response.
Intentional silence is not a neutral response.
Stripped down to basics, life is about loving people for who they are, and not who we want them to be.
Love to all… Love – Mom
ps – My shoulder is punishing me for (hand)writing this, but it is a necessity.
Reading that for the first time in many years, am struck by how much the last line reflects the very premise of the book I’m writing on the 5th Commandment – loving, honoring, others for who they are, and not who we want them to be. Spot on!