I always ask myself, “Who are the people that I have the closest relationship with? Who would I like to have a close relationship with?” After reflecting on these questions, I would say that my relationships with my family members are the closest. Good friends do play an important role in our lives, but relationships between friends may change over time or because of geographical distance. Only family members will always have a special and unchanging spot in our hearts.
I understand that relationships need to be nurtured; they take time and effort. However, sometimes I just feel that despite what I have done, obstacles and hurtful feelings are still inevitable. Through Presence’s Life Planning Curriculum, I realized that in my relationship with my children, my heart needed to mature and be transformed; I needed to be vulnerable before them— honest with my inadequacies, my insecurities, and even my negative emotions.
My eldest daughter graduated from college and is now working out of state. Most of the time we have been very close to each other and have a good mother-daughter relationship. However, whenever she expressed difficulties or challenges she faced, I sometimes couldn’t help but give lots of suggestions. She would end up getting frustrated because she felt like I was preaching to her, while I got disappointed because my good intentions were not appreciated. Now, when something like that happens, I will apologize to my daughter, admit that I am not empathetic enough, and that I am too fixated on resolving the problems rather than tending to her emotional needs. I have begun to understand that what she needs from me is support through listening, not answers. As a result, unless she is asking for my opinion, I will just gently ask about her thoughts, trusting that she can resolve the problem on her own; I don’t have to treat her like a child by giving her guidance. At the same time, I have told her that sometimes my old self will come back, and if that happens, please remind me to stop instead of getting mad or complaining that I am lecturing her again, as that will just make me feel frustrated, hurt, and disrespected. Because of this, our communication has improved a lot. I realize that when I am willing to be open and admit my inadequacies and feelings, we accept and understand each other more, and are closer than before.
Editor’s note: Many people may think that it’s a sign of weakness to be vulnerable before others, especially before their children; they rationalize that only by maintaining their dignity will they be respected. From Jinq-Meei’s sharing, we can see that by being honest about our vulnerability, inadequacies, insecurities, and negative emotions before others, it can actually help draw people closer to us. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Even though we might show our weaknesses while nurturing a relationship, by God’s grace, may we experience Christ’s power of transformation in us so that we can have a deeper connection with our loved ones.
(The author is a participant of the Presence Life Planning Curriculum Certification Course. The article is part of her reflection during the study. Author retains copyright and grants Presence and Presence Hong Kong the right of publication.)
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