It Will Always Be Yes

Our lives are shaped by those who love us and by those who refuse to love us” – 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: “Do you love me?” That I can answer: “Yes”. " – John Powell

10 Thoughts.

  1. So apropos. There truly are unconditional times. And times when my conditioning raises issues. We keep changing.

  2. Very powerful. My son’s pushing at me and testing my devotion is so tiring. I wish I could write words like these and he would get it. But he never will. Our relationship will always require “managing” — of his behavior, of my reactions. The only thing I can promise is to always love him. Trying to mirror his goodness, reflect his worth and value, understand and not judge. Right now, that feels too hard.

  3. These are words no child should ever have to express to a mother, I can see it in the reverse, but a child, even though an adult, should not have to feel this way. Oh, that we all be willing to learn from each lesson life brings us.
    Denise

  4. “These are words no child should ever have to express to a mother, I can see it in the reverse, but a child, even though an adult, should not have to feel this way.”
    I agree with you Denise. It was me who shared this with Suz. I first wrote a very angry statement to my mother, telling her to get out of my life if she wasn’t going to act like a mother… but knowing that would not help anything, I found this and send it instead. I do mean it and feel it… I just wish she was capable of acting like a mother… or even just an adult, more often than she does *sigh*.

  5. This reminds me of the day not so long ago when my nmom asked me “Why do you love me?” Uh….How do you answer such a question? I couldn’t answer the question. I just said, “Because I do.” I am not sure what she was looking for. Maybe I should have said, “Because you ARE my mother.”
    I have asked her a million questions in our years together, but never this one.

  6. I meant to comment on this, but didn’t. It minds me too much of things here where I am. I miss you chica!

  7. These words rang very true for me. Mother to child.
    When you discover your child has not been raised in a way that encouraged him to love himself, you hope that you can help that to happen. When things get a little rocky and you are under fire you have to keep reminding yourself of what you know in your heart. Sometimes that is very hard.
    Somebody warned me about this long ago and it has proven to be very true.
    Kris

  8. “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: “Do you love me?” That I can answer: “Yes”. ” – John Powell”
    I have been back numerous times to read and re-read this post. You’ve probably seen my traffic, *grin* I am so moved by the passage, especially this part.
    Hugs & Love to ya! Kristy

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