"We have this beautiful time with our children, and then they're supposed to go away.”
Is there someone in your life with whom you're entirely frustrated?
You look at their choices and think they're making huge errors. If they would just listen to you, they would have a much better life, as would you. So you come at them from various angles to convince them of YOUR vision for THEIR life. You advise, suggest, scold, guilt, nudge, hound, and even criticize.
This is a very common way to approach a close relationship, especially when you have something at stake.
I have a question: How is this working out?
My guess...not very well.
Generally people don't like to be told what to do.
Flip the scenario to you.
If someone were doing that to you, would you appreciate it? If they kept telling you how to live and what your choices should be and how you shouldn't have that struggle or those feelings, you would probably be very anxious to get them off your back.
So back to them.
Chances are that they don't appreciate it either.
I know, I know. It's hard to withhold ourselves from trying to reach across and grab the steering wheel of someone else's life. Especially with our kids who are transitioning into adulthood and beyond. Oh, and with our spouses. And maybe some other people nearby as well.
If you take an honest look at your own behavior and find that you tend to monitor, suggest, correct, or criticize someone to do THEIR life YOUR way, consider that there is another way to relate, which yields much better results.
It starts with this core belief:
Each person is a sovereign individual with their own desires, struggles, rights, and soul path.
No one can do their life for them, nor should they. Their sovereignty as a human being needs to be respected. This means you cannot (or should not) do their life for them. It's theirs to live and theirs to grow, mistakes and struggles and all.
If that core belief becomes your launching place, then how would you be different toward that person? What else could you do besides try to control?
Here's an example from Madeleine's story in the most recent podcast episode.
When her grown daughter decided to become estranged from her, Madeleine was devastated and not sure what to do. At one time in her life, she may have felt that her daughter had no right to run off. She may have wanted to continually bombard her with emails and scold, shame, or guilt her. She may have wanted to chase after her and plead with her to come back. She may have wanted to become angry and bitter that her daughter would dare do such a thing to her mother.
But that's not what she did. Why?
Because she had learned about the sovereignty of a person's soul journey on earth. She understood that her daughter chose to leave for her own private reasons, even though as a mom it was difficult to understand. She learned that the most wise, loving, and respectful thing would be to accept the choice her daughter made and release her to her own journey. Whatever that was. Even if it included suffering for each of them.
During this time of separation, Madeleine chose to work on her side of street. She took inventory of her own issues and worked them through as best she could. She chose to find healing. She chose to send love from her heart to her daughter's heart, even though they weren't speaking. She kept herself open to the relationship in the big picture.
Six years later, her daughter showed up and they had a beautiful reconnection. No words were spoken about what had happened. Madeleine just welcomed her with open arms.
All of this came because she had chosen to hold the core belief that people must go on their own path and it wasn't her job to try to control another person's life, including her daughter's.
Again...back to you.
If you see that you're trying to control someone else's life in some way, take a look at your core beliefs.
What do you believe about people that would give you permission to attempt to take over their steering wheel and/or criticize them if they don't do it your way?
What would it look like if you released that person to their own journey, even if it includes suffering?
There's much more to explore here, but I'll leave you with these soul searching questions for now.