So parents, with few exceptions, love us unconditionally. This is likely the single most valuable resource a person is ever given, the unconditional love of another human being. Yet for so many people it is a squandered opportunity. Pride, fear and pain cause us to make poor choices in our relationships with our parents that prevent us from fully realising the benefit of this unique relationship.
It is strange for most of the people I interact with romantically to see me talk very frankly with my mother about my sexual experiences. However some time ago I realised that the one person in my life who was safest to talk to about my experiences and problems in my relationships was my mother and thus no subject matter is ‘off limits’. Her only agenda is to see me fulfilled and happy. Now admittedly she may have some notions about what preconditions my happiness and fulfillment need – but fortunately for me I have cultivated a respect in the relationship with my mother such that If I tell her I am happy in a pursuit she believes me earnestly.
This is an unmatched level of love in my entire life to date. No one else makes as excellent an emotional an intellectual sounding board as my mum. But in order to really, truly be able to utilise my relationship with my mother I have to tell her the truth. The whole, ugly and uncomfortable truth.
An author’s note here: I understand that for some people this role is not filled by a parent or at all. For me this role is filled in an unusual way and I am using Mother as a stand in term. I sincerely hope that everyone reading this has experienced the type of unconditional love that I am describing in this piece. If not I am tremendously sorry for how potentially challenging you might find this – feel free to skip the rest.
We all have things we have done, sides of ourselves that we regret or find challenging but these facets and actions require no less inspection for the reactions they inspire in us, quite the opposite. These are the things that need the closest of inspections because they are the things we would seek to hide from everyone, including ourselves. These are the topics that a relationship predicated on unconditional love is best placed to help us work through an understand.
The best way to achieve this result is establish a truthful baseline. Take the bitter pill, bite the bullet, rip the band-aid off and just tell the whole truth bring all those ugly truths to light. For me this is was one of the hardest things I have done as an adult and so I understand that it might be initially repulsive as a suggestion – but I swear it pays dividends far beyond the emotional capitol invested.
Once you have achieved this it is far easier to maintain than it was to establish, even if only by pure virtue of volume, you can only really do one reprehensible thing at a time – and so will rarely if ever be called upon to reveal more than one new ‘failing’ at a time. Everyone is human and sometimes we might still through fear or pride conceal a new batch of facts because or one reason or another. I promise each time you reveal more of yourself to someone who loves you unconditionally you are welcomed back with love and forgiveness.
This truth baseline allows those who love us unconditionally to know us. The whole of us and thus when you go to them they know where you are at and can be empathetic and loving of the whole of you, not just the parts of you you choose to share. The ability to drop one’s facade and know that there will be no surprises, no shock, no horror is cathartic beyond measure. It also has the added benefit of allowing those who love us to have the longest possible time understanding us before being called upon to provide sage advice or act as a sounding board.
Referencing an earlier piece the late great Dr Randy Pausch advocated that a method to achieving success was to; ‘establish a good feedback loop an listen to it’. I need to stress that the establishment of such an honest, caring and beautiful feedback loop is all in service of seeking true self betterment. My mother is the person who can help me confront truths that I am not yet willing to face on my own. With full knowledge of my most painful truths my mother can be counted on to know the demons that plague me as I describe new and challenging scenarios. With this feedback loop I can always safely count on at least one other human to be able to empathise with any new and seemingly insurmountable challenge I face no matter how dark or terrible it might be and for that I will always love my mother.