Loving others means accepting them for who they are April 8, 2016 – Posted in: Advice, Relationships – Tags: acceptance, advice, children, coaching, control, family, growth, love, parenting, relationships
I was recently approached by a father who wanted me to work with his daughter so that she could become the focussed, academic, A* student he knew she could be. He wanted the best for her and could see that she wasn’t reaching her potential. He was very keen for her to have coaching.
She, on the other hand, was determined (at age 19) to find her own path. She didn’t want to go to university – she wanted to travel and surf and ski and work and party. She was very keen not to have coaching.
In this instance, as a coach, I had to back away because I can’t and won’t work with someone who doesn’t want my help. It would be an intrusion. In fact, it could be argued that maybe it was the dad who needed coaching in order to let go of the dreams he had for his daughter. Because she was living her own life now, true to herself and her path, and I think maybe he was grieving her a little.
This lovely man was transitioning from being the directive parent he’d appropriately been while his daughter was a child to becoming the parent of an adult free to make her own choices. And he was struggling with this.
I see this pattern played out in so many relationships. Women trying to change their boyfriends into the men they think they ‘should’ be. Friends expecting unconditional love and support from each other when sometimes that just isn’t there. Children wanting their parents to be people they simply cannot be.
Acceptance is the only answer in these situations.
Acceptance does not mean doing nothing or allowing someone to abuse you.
Acceptance means seeing the truth and not resisting it.
It then means deciding to love that person whatever they choose to do with their life. This can sometimes mean you love them from a distance because you need to break off the active part of your relationship.
It also means protecting yourself.
Mostly, though, it means dropping your expectations of what another person should be doing with their life and bringing the focus back onto you and what you should be doing. What pains us in other people is usually a mirror for what pains us most about ourselves…
Acceptance is a very, very powerful tool in relationships because it allows us to focus on our own stuff and stop trying to change other people.
Acceptance means you live your life and allow others to live theirs.
This is love.