Sarah (not her real name) a client of mine was kindly enthusing about the Age Smarter Programme and felt so amazing she wanted to help her sister.
Her concerns were that her sibling was not ageing well and seemed be going through a steep decline both mental and physical. Sarah wanted to pass what she had learnt to her much loved but ailing sister.
Oh yes, I know that feeling well, especially in my line of work. It is so easy to look in with frustration and at times, anger at others and ask ”why won’t they listen to me; I can help”! There is nothing worse then feeling powerless and unheard; standing on sidelines ‘watching an accident in slow motion”.
Experiencing this allows me to offer some advice that I know works for me.
When I love someone, I feel pain when they suffer. However whilst I can offer to help I have come to understand it is not my responsibility to ‘mend’ or change them.
I now accept it is their life; I am just a spectator or a player in their game as they are in mine.
If they aren’t into juicing, veganism, paleo, yoga, meditation, organic, supplements, running, exercise or whatever enriches my life, it does not mean they are losing out. It means these things are important to me and not to them.
I told Sarah, “every time you see your loved one and want to change her (even for the better as you would perceive), she feels that unspoken criticism instead of the deep abiding love you have for her. What does that do? Unfortunately it pushes her away from you, making her feel judged and diminished”. Is that what it should feel like to be on the receiving end of love?
To genuinely accept someone for who they are is not easy route however it is the only one to take. I believe we empower people by believing in their judgment; whatever the consequence of their choice. After all it’s their outcome and they will learn whatever they need to from it. If we constantly make decisions for others they not only lose faith in their own ability to do so but will develop the belief you have too. A lose: lose for everyone.
I suggested to Sarah, next time she sees her sister that she takes a very different approach. When the difficult feelings of worry and concern arise, she visually pulls them out of her heart, rolls them into a ball and pushes them away.
Then, looking at her sister she gets in touch with the love she has for her, residing in her heart. I suggested she try visualizing that emotion as a beautiful, warm, iridescent and sparkling pale purple light gently emanating from deep within. Sarah can then send this loving light to and around her sister, enveloping her in sincere love and equally importantly, respect.
What does all this woo-woo nonsense do?
It changes the way Sarah approaches the situation and how her sister feels in her presence. That in turn will do more, in and of itself for Sarah, her sister and their relationship then any amount of nagging or coercing.
It fosters an atmosphere of nurturing, kindness, safety and openness; absolutely the right platform for helping someone, if they want it.
My belief is we are ‘here’ to be ourselves with all our imperfections, bad choices and neuroses and not what others would have us be. Life is a huge learning experience; good and bad.
We need to have faith in ourselves and importantly we need those who love us, to do the same and genuinely accept who we are, as we are.
Just loving us; warts and all……………………