Question for Bernie:
I just read some of your letters and answers. It made me think about my sister because she reminds me of Mother Teresa’s quote about “loving till it hurts than love some more.”
The problem at least for me is seeing how tired she always seems. She works at night, sleeps a few hours, and then visits our mother in the nursing home. My mom is mentally ill and this pains my sister.
My sister is always there for everyone in our family. We are lucky to have her. I’m concerned about her health because she hardly gets any sleep. I have suggested counseling but she won’t do that, so I thought I would run this by you and see what you have to say.
If your sister is doing so much out of love, all she needs is to take a rest to restore herself. You and other family members could offer to visit your mom and give your sister a vacation for a few days.
If your sister is doing all of these things out of guilt, then there isn’t much we can do. One thing you can do, though, is try to get her to talk about her reasons. Let her know that she is “burning out, not up.” Is she married? If she is, ask her husband to help you, too.
Suggest that Mom isn’t the only one who needs her, and that before she can take care of anyone else effectively, she must take care of herself. Losing sleep is very hard on the immune system as well as the spirit. Your sister may be subconsciously setting herself up for getting ill just so she can feel entitled to take a rest. Tell her you don’t want to see that happen and you will help her by sharing the responsibilities.
Question for Bernie:
While I was growing up my parents didn’t outwardly show their love to me. For a long time I didn’t think my father loved me. There were no hugs or kisses except one before going to bed. There were no “I love you’s.” I grew up in the days where the children were to be seen but not heard.
I now feel like my mum is cold, and I know my dad loves me but he doesn’t show it. I also feel like my parents are not there for me when I need them. I do believe they love me, but they don’t outwardly show it. I feel anger toward them. I feel like they have let me down. I know no one is perfect, but I still feel like this.
How can I let go of my disappointments with my parents and the anger that flares up? I don’t want to talk to them about all this because it would hurt them a lot.
Should I just keep loving them and forget about the past? Sometimes I can be feeling really good so I go and visit them but they are in a bad mood. When that happens, I can then come away feeling terrible. My dad is very moody.
What can I do about all of this? I suffer from depression at times. I think this is because of the lack of love and support from my parents. I want to get past this and move on.
Thank you for the love and light you are sending out to the world.
Here is something I have seen work in situations like yours. Say “I love you” to them every day for three months then skip a day and watch what happens.
Yes, you are very right to consider abandoning your past. Remember, you decide how you feel, not your parents.
Listen to them without saying anything but “mmmm” and they will start to hear themselves talk. Your parents will learn something from listening to their own words, and thank you for giving them that opportunity.
Also remember, your parents were wounded too, so understand and forgive. That will free you to really live your life to the fullest, without wasting time on feelings that hold you down.
Question for Bernie:
I e-mailed you a few weeks ago. First, I’d like to thank you–I am in the middle of your book Love, Medicine, and Miracles. It is inspiring!!!
I am finished with chemo and am now going through reconstruction, then radiation. My CT scan showed a few nodules on my thyroid, so I quickly had them checked (even though no one was too concerned). One of them did turn out to be positive, however.
As taken aback as I was when I found out, I thought of you and your book. I believe I have a very strong will to live and this is just a bump in the road. I’ve been told that thyroid cancer is very treatable. Besides, I look and feel great, and I just want to push through all this and start changing my life.
My husband travels a lot for his work which makes life less stressful for me. As soon as I am able, I will move out since he won’t.
Thank you again and if you ever do any public speaking please let me know. I live in New Jersey.
Follow my speaking schedule on my website. We have someone from New Jersey come to our Connecticut evening support group. Where in New Jersey are you?
It is clear that you are taking the message in my book to heart. Yes, this is a very important time to prioritize loving your life and body. Give yourself—your life and your body—the gift of “order.” Of course, love your son, but do not just live for him and for being a mother—live your yourself, too.
Interesting choice of words—“bump in road” and bump (nodule) on the thyroid.”
So notice that choice of words and take a lesson from them. Level your path of life but appreciate that hills and bumps can be your teachers too.