Our lives are shaped by those who love us and by those who refuse to love usâ€ – John Powell
In discussing painful reunions with a friend of mine, she sent me this. She is an adoptee in a difficult reunion and I, of course, am a mother. Our reunions are at times mirror reflections of the other.
A recent bump in her reunion caused her to search for words to share with her mother. She came upon these and in reading them, I was equally touched.
I found the last paragraph particularly impactful for I can count the number of times my daughter has suggested I cannot, or should not, love her.
As her mother, that is not an option for me and never was. Whether she wants me to or not, I will always love her and will always be here.
"People act, and especially relate to other people, in accordance with the way they think of and feel about themselves.
I can easily trace your obnoxious behavior to the invisible roots of an unsuccessful struggle for self-esteem, until you hurt me. Then my own psychological scars begin to ache, and I stop thinking about you and your needs. I stop trying to understand you and I am tempted to hurt you. I must tell you this. It is very important that you know it. I want to offer you unconditional love. I really know you need it and I want to fulfill your needs so that you may be fully alive. But I am not able to do this. I am not able to give you the unconditional love you need. My own needs are too real, too limiting, too crippling. I can only say that I will do what I can. I can only ask you to be patient with me.
I want you to know that I do know what you need, even when I cannot give it to you. My own limitations and weakness will impede my performance, but I know that my greatest contribution to your life will be to help you love yourself, to think better and more gently on yourself, to accept your own limitations and more peacefully in the perspective of your whole person, which is uniquely valuable. To give you all that you need would require a wholeness in me that I do not have. I cannot always come through for you as you need me to. I am living at the outer rim of my own ideals, hanging on only with great effort. But I can promise you this much. I will try. I will try to always reflect to you your unique and unrepeatable value and worth. I will try to be a mirror to your beauty and goodness. I will try to read your heart, not your lips. I will always try to understand rather than judge you. I will never demand that you meet my expectations as the price of admission to my heart.
So do not ask me why I love you. Such a question could invite only the response of conditional love. I do not love you because you look a certain way or do certain things or practice certain virtues. Only ask me this: â€œDo you love me?â€ That I can answer: â€œYesâ€. " – John Powell