The following is a letter that one of my clients got from a family member after the family spent an evening discussing my last post, "Exploring Feelings of Being Lovable, 12 Questions and Exercises".
I can't think of a better use for these questions and exercises and I am gratified and honored that this family took the opportunity to use them to enhance their relationships to one another. I think it takes a lot of courage to disclose and discuss such private and deeply held feelings. I also think this letter says more than I can say about the positive results of using such a method to build more gratifying intimacy in one's family. And it sounds like it was fun too!
I was having trouble sleeping and I got to thinking about our 12 question conversation last night. It was very interesting to hear every one's views on themselves, each other and life in general. In particular, your thoughts about not feeling like you could be yourself throughout most of your life for fear of rejection or feeling like you just weren't good enough. That brought something to my mind as I sat here in my office thinking random thoughts. You spoke of certain times/events in your life that you needed to hear that you were loved and didn't receive it. I can not relate to that particular scenario but I am almost certain that I can tell you about something that you do not spend nearly enough time thinking about. How you have affected the people around you. I'll give you some examples. I'm aware this is going to sound really weird coming from me but hear it goes. Be patient, I'll get to my point.
You and I have had many conversations often involving self reflection but until the last 17 months I never really paid that close attention to my side of the story. I'm sure you have probably said a prayer or two about your own situations in life but have never realized how many peoples prayers you have unknowingly been god's answer to and often times at the sacrifice of your own happiness. This was just my one personal example. I bet if we could look back 3 years ago in a dirty old dilapidated house in northern Michigan we would find an old lady praying for someone to help her. Or 12 years ago in St.. Charles we'd find Larry (probably not praying but certainly hoping) to find someone to spend his life with.
Or several years ago your father wondering how he was going to get through life without your mother and then probably praying to find someone (I mean anyone) to takeover for you so you can try and get on with your life and stop worrying about him. Or your brothers, again probably not praying but certainly hoping, that someone is going to take care of dad after their mother died so it wouldn't be such a burden on them. You single-handedly compensated for your daughter's lack of a father and still managed to raise her to have a good heart which after hearing more about the town she grew up in seems almost like an impossibility.
I guess what I'm getting at is I can't help but think that a lot of the pain you have endured in your life was actually everyone else's pain. You would rather take it upon yourself than see someone you love hurting. We talked briefly during our 12 questions quiz about how people in you life have not always let you know how much you mean to them. I think there's a couple of reasons for that aside from the obvious emotional instability. One has tobe the fact that many of the people in your life don't even realize the huge sacrifices you have made for them. The second has to be that most people are not nearly as compassionate as you and therefore, once again, don't think about letting you know how much they appreciate you.
Well I love and appreciate you mom. Not just for the cookies. For the chicken salad too:)ha ha. You have unknowingly been the ongoing answer to my prayer and not only improved my life but my relationship with my wife, my family and my business. Thank you. Apparently Pam is right, my universe responds to my prayers. So my new prayer is that you will not only soon get the happiness but the relief and care that you have given to so many others. But you have to be willing to recognize it and accept it and for once not cure someone else's pain at the sacrifice of your own joy.
(anonymous at the author's request)