As I move more fully into the space of honoring myself, I am called to witness this process in others. The belief in the sanctity of family is strongly embedded in our society, stemming perhaps from the commandment: honor thy mother and thy father. We were taught that this applied to the parents who gave us birth. I have moved to an understanding that it applies to my Mother/Father God and honor them, I do. I am a part of God so to truly honor God, I must honor myself.
How many of us have lived under a lifetime of criticism and judgement from a parent or a sibling? How many of us have been lied to or held to a bond a family secret? How many dread the duty phone call to a parent, the holiday gathering time, the visits that leave one feeling depleted? We have been taught that we must endure this in the name of honoring. But who are we honoring when we allow someone to mistreat us? As children, we did not have the freedom to step away. As adults, we have the freedom to set a boundary as to how we will be treated. In not setting that boundary, we give others permission to continue in the same old patterns. Everyone stays locked into an old story. We assume that we must put up with it because that is what honoring means. Yet, there is no freedom for anyone in this arrangement. Life is about change and growth. When I set a boundary stating that I will no longer be mistreated, I gift the other with the freedom of a new response. They can choose to change their behavior and enjoy the relationship from a place of honoring or they can choose to have no relationship. All choices are valid.
My life changed when I took the hand of my inner child, and vowed to never abandon her again. I became the adult who stood up to an abusive parent, sibling, friend and boss, in defense of that little girl who was mistreated. I had to earn her trust by setting boundaries that allowed her to feel safe. I demonstrated that there was no one more important in my life, by honoring her needs first and foremost. All have a wounded inner child, who seeks love and nurturing. We are the only ones who can give that to ourselves. We may have others in our lives who reflect love to us, but no one can gift us with what we need to feel whole, except ourselves. Others may come and go in our lives, but we are the constant. We are the ones who can tap into that well of loving that awaits us in our hearts from our Mother/Father God.
We make assumptions about others, about how they will react when given the chance to choose a new response. We may be adults in our sixties, still cowering in front of a domineering mother like the frightened five year old we once were. We subscribe to a false belief that we must endure it, allowing the parent to continue a destructive pattern. By setting boundaries, the parent is gifted with an opportunity to bring forth more of the nobility of their soul rather than running the same low vibrational tone. Another belief is that old age means one cannot change. How limiting is that? How many old folks on their deathbeds, reverse their cynicism, express regret for their non-loving ways, reveal a family secret that had been burdening their soul? Our souls want to come clean, to be the shining stars that we all truly are. Truth spoken plainly is freeing for all involved. By allowing others to continue in destructive patterns towards us, we hold a responsibility for keeping those patterns intact.
I recall visiting my grandfather who had become more miserable with age after my grandmother died. I would go spend weekends with him, bringing groceries and cooking meals. I recall him yelling at me. I looked him in the eye and said, “Gramps, stop it. I am one of the very few who even comes near you as you have become so miserable. You have driven everyone away with your meanness. You are fortunate to have me so be nice or I will not be back.” He began to laugh and said, “You are right, I will stop.” And he did. When his health gave out and he had to be moved to a nursing home, he told me one day that he was afraid to meet his maker. I asked him why. He said that he had not treated my grandmother very well. I agreed that he had not and asked why. We spoke plainly about it which was a relief to him. The next time I visited, he told me that he had finally made peace with the Lord. He died the next day and I knew it was because he had asked for forgiveness and found peace at last.
It does not mean it all turns up roses. Some will choose to stay stuck and you will have to release them from your world. But you have done them a service by demonstrating that their behavior is not acceptable. They will have to ponder that which may bring them to an awakening somewhere down the road……or not. We are called to honor ourselves and be unattached as to how others react to our honoring. If little Linda can skip merrily at my side, without feeling a need to hide or cry out in pain…then I am doing my job in allowing her to live with a knowing that the world is a safe and magical place to be. Imagine if we each did this, spoke our truth and lived by it. Our interactions would be cleaner and clearer, with less hooks and cordings between us and more love. We are not meant to live enmeshed with one another, as that involves a loss of freedom. We are freedom lovers and by granting freedom to ourselves to be honored and cherished in life, we grant it to others. It is a win-win world. We may have to redefine what the win looks like but we will feel it in our hearts. To not have a relationship with a parent may appear a loss yet feel liberating. Freedom can be scary when we first feel its breath on our faces. I have watched friends continue to go back for more brow beating, more mistreatment, thinking if they only gave more or offered themselves in a different package, then the acceptance and love would come. I did it for years until the rut grew too deep and my soul cried out for freedom. Respect will not follow from allowing another to disrepect you. it is time to honor ourselves and in doing so, honor one another. We have a responsibility to call out the best in ourselves and one another. We are currently writing the script for a new world, one where all feel safe and know that they are loved unconditionally. How can you play your part if you are not offering this love to yourself? This new earth begins within each of our hearts. How we treat ourselves, is how we create our world. So take your little one’s hand and make a vow to treat her/him with the upmost respect, to cherish her/him with the greatest of love and to speak your truth at all times, without regard to the cost. In so doing, we are set to co-create a world of love and freedoms unimagined!