Letter to a Nephew

Dear Ren,

The thought occurs to me that I have inadvertently hurt you. Looking back over my life, issues regarding male authority figures–my father in particular–have weighed heavily and it occurs to me that you may carry some of the same issues. If so, then perhaps I can say something to help.

I have suffered from wanting my father’s attention. Unfortunately, because of his own psychological issues (probably war related,) he was unable to provide the nurture I believed I needed, a need further exacerbated by a less than friendly stepfather.

Although no therapy or advice can change the past—we suffer the wounds as we must—there is something I have learned and can share: The need for approval is something we project out from within, and hope, futilely, that the other can carry our projection. Fortunately, the other cannot fulfill the gaping hole within us. If they could, we would become emotional slaves.

This emotional need swirls within whenever I feel inadequate. Other people feel it and tend to avoid me. The answer lies in realizing that no one thinks about anybody but themselves. When they avoid in such situations it is because they want not to be sucked on, and when they come close in such situations it is often because they want something—usually superiority.

I appeared to reject you when you were in the U.S. a couple of years ago and thereby potentially triggered the wound of the missing male/father figure. In a way it is true, I did reject what appeared to be a needy person disguised as a family member. Another way of looking at what happened is that I was only concerned for my own interests. Both are true.

Men can (hopefully) nurture children, but when the child emerges into its own potential, something changes, that energy becomes competition–the warrior spirit; they challenge each other to reach higher. I would like to challenge you: No one can reject you unless you invite them, and likewise, no one can love you unless you invite them. The power is in you, not in the other.

Any rationalization becomes a defense, and thereby diminishes, whilst seeing things as they are becomes a doorway. I am not talking about meditation; I am talking about the wholeness of a human being.

You will always have a friend here.

Love,

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