Dear Barb – Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Dear Barb:

My mother and I have not always gotten along and now that we are both getting older I really wish things were different between us. I love her, but I’ve been so involved in my own life that I never think about what she is going through. As my kids are growing up and moving away from me I am beginning to identify with my mother more than ever. She has always been a good mom and took care of me; she just didn’t always agree with me and didn’t do things the way I wanted her to. I now realize this was just selfishness on my part. The problem is I don’t know how to change this now. Do you have any suggestions? Michelle.

Hi Michelle:

What you are feeling is pretty normal. Sometimes to be able to truly understand another person we have to “walk a mile in their shoes.” As your children are growing up and becoming their own people, you are beginning to realize they have their own thoughts on how they want to live their lives and it is not always what you want for them, or what you think they should do. This philosophy can apply to your mother as well. You also have to accept your mother as she is and realize she will live her life according to her own philosophy, which may not particularly coincide with yours. As you state in your letter, you are maturing and perhaps beginning to realize this was selfishness on your part. It is never too late to change things and I believe the best way to change this situation is to sit down with your mom and discuss your feelings. You both can begin a new relationship from this point on with a new appreciation of each other. One of the most important aspects of living a peaceful life is the ability to accept others as they are, rather than expecting them to be what you want them to be. Everyone has experienced a life that is unique to them and as a result their responses will be unique to them. We cannot judge another based on our perspectives of how things should be. Thanks for writing Michelle.

Dear Barb:

Hi, my husband and I recently eloped and now our families are mad because they didn’t get to share in our day! We were going to have a big wedding and even had the arrangements made, but it seemed to be so stressful with everybody wanting things their way, so we cancelled the wedding. Then the two of us and two of our closest friends went to Vegas and got married. The wedding was stress free and happy. When we came home and told our families they freaked out and said we were selfish and only thinking of ourselves! I don’t think I should feel bad, after all it is supposed to be our wedding! Am I just being selfish? Tammy.

Hi Tammy:

Thanks for your letter. No you are not being selfish, this is your wedding and you and your fiancé should do whatever you want, as long as you are not being inconsiderate to others. However, if your parents were paying for the wedding, their desires should be taken into account. Good luck with your nuptials Tammy.

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Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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