December 16, 2017
I woke up even before my grandson today realizing that my entire life now could be focused on nurturing select relationships – grandkids, adult children, siblings, not to mention my own mom and my own intimate partner.
Doing the math, that’s 2+3+9+1+1 = 16! Then there are the in-laws of siblings, which adds another eight for a total of 24 family members that I could be caring about, communicating with, and supporting. I haven’t even considered the 25 nieces and nephews or the 13 or so greats. So I’m up to 53 family I could be choosing as important relationships to nurture.
How do I choose which ones?
I’m half way through my week of visiting my two grandkids. I did decide that creating relationships with them is essential and worth investing my week’s vacation and a thousand dollars on travel.
How about siblings? They have garnered varying levels of my attention in my adult life. They linger in my background as people I know I can always call. They live in widespread places where I might travel occasionally. I have a vague notion of what they’re doing and follow a few on Facebook.
One thing that has stood in my way of deeper connection with them is my belief that I’m too different to be respected. Maybe they feel the same way about me! That belief has wavered some over the years as I have transformed it. As with most limiting beliefs, they were simply mirroring my own self-hatred, so I was hearing their criticism and disinterest through my own filter of rejection. Most likely I didn’t actually know what they were thinking. All I could hear was my own self-doubt.
They, however, are the people I have known the longest – my whole life, really. They are the first people to do this magic mirroring and the ones who were there competing with me for my parents’ attention, the ones diminishing the family resources!
Before I knew about Radical Forgiveness, they were the ones I could blame for my poverty, my emotional trauma, my social struggles. Now, through the lens of the Thirteen Steps, I can be open that they were the ones helping me have these soul-defining experiences from which I could learn and grow.