Fixing Yourself Rather Than Others

I have been following The Disappearance in Universe Yahoogroup set up by Gary Renard. Dr Kenneth Wapnick, the co-founder and teacher of FACIM has passed away on 27th Dec 2013 and there has been plenty of posts regarding his transition. There were numerous sharing of their encounters with Ken and how wonderful he is as a person. One of them is by a lady who once seek help from Ken on how to deal with her daughter. Ken’s advice and the lady’s experience is invaluable for all who follow this path. I have tried to contact her for permission to include her post here but her email kept bouncing back. If you (the lady) ever see this, I hope you are okay with me sharing your wonderful message here:

Dear Nina,

I’ll be glad to expand on that. At the time my daughter was a teenager and was going through some difficult changes in her life and I was a single parent trying to keep a full time job and needing to spend more and more time with my daughter in order to help her. Things would get stressful at times and times were tough. But the hardest thing was to see my child being so unhappy and for some reason I thought it was up to me for her to be happy. When she was unhappy, and at times became extremely angry or depressed, I didn’t know how to handle the situation. Ken simply told me to not focus on trying to ‘fix’ her, ‘change’ her. He said that what was most most important was that I be present for her regardless of her behavior. Basically to not adjust my behavior to hers, so if she became angry I instead of becoming angry too I would simply keep calm and love her, letting her know that I loved her regardless of what was going on. In the moment when she was angry I needed to stop trying to get her to stop being angry.

Rather than trying to fix or change her, I needed to fix or change ‘me’. I needed to focus on my reaction to her at that moment and center on changing that, from a fearful or angry reaction to seeing her differently, to stop seeing her as if there were something wrong with her, and start asking for help in seeing her truly. He advised me to work on myself at those moments, and also outside of those moments, whenever I thought about my daughter, to not see her as needing ‘fixing’, as much as was possible within the circumstances. And if I ‘lost it’ and got angry too, or forgot myself, then let myself off the hook and ‘be there for me’ as well. Find a place in me that would keep calm regardless of mine or her behavior. That’s when he held my face and gently and lovingly said “Listen to Me” … in other words, listen to the voice of reason, the quiet voice within.

I started doing that, and didn’t have to wait long for the next episode in our lives where I could put this into practice. The next time the tantrums came and the anger and the blame showed up, I searched inside me for that calm within and just stood there, telling myself how beautiful she was, there was nothing wrong with her. I tried not reacting to her anger, defenseless but firm. It wasn’t easy at first but I learned soon to recognize my own anger. So I stopped that too. She would calm down quickly and we would just move on. Slowly the tantrums disappeared and we started to get very close in our relationship. It really helped us break through a barrier that had been there for years. I started to do this ‘don’t try to fix them’ thing with all relationships, stopped trying to get people to be different than they were, stopped wishing they would change or improve on this or that. I also stopped expecting me to be better or to act / be a certain way or a certain type of person. I learned to let others off the hook and in that to let myself off the hook.

Things are never perfect in the world, but this helped heal so many relationships and put behind so many disagreements and grievances, that today we all get along just fine, we agree to disagree in certain things but external disagreements of opinion have nothing to do with the constancy of our love for one another other. This extended to my other children, to my former spouse(s) and across the miles to my first husband who had abandoned us when so many years ago and is today a student of the Course, all on his own. And trust me, he is the last person in the world I would have expected to be a student of a spiritual path when I was young, but now I know that anyone can find their way, anyone. I suppose we are all still a work-in-progress, but we are certainly miles away from where we were 10 years ago.

I hope this is what you were looking for, and thank you for asking and listening.

Ken was a blessing to us all.

Love,

Lu

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