Stay Out Of Other Family Members Strife

When my client, Lisa, came to me broken hearted about the strained relationship between her now adult daughter and son I knew I wouldn't be able fix her broken heart—that was all up to her. What I could do, though, was help create a new mindset about it. With that, she could begin the healing process with her family.

You see, it's been well over a year since her son has spoken to his sister in spite of all her apologies for what she admits was a wrong doing on her part. Nonetheless, the extended olive branch has been ignored many times and now there's not much more his sister can do except to go on with her life knowing she's done all she can at this point in time to make amends.

As Lisa shared, the most important thing to her is her family. Nothing makes her happier when there is family around and being able to make wonderful memories. She came to me because she wanted to find out how she might be able to get her son to accept his sister's olive branch and forgive her.

What's the best way to approach him? How could she get him to see how stubborn he's being and how wrong it is to behave this way after his sister has tried so many times to reconcile?

The simple, and often painful answer for people to hear is there's absolutely nothing she can do to change his mind or the situation. In fact, by even approaching him and giving him any advice or opinion that wasn't asked for could very well have him angry with her and maybe stop talking to her, too.

From his perspective he's right in his behavior. He believes his sister deserves his silence for breaking their agreement. He can choose to never see her again. Cutting relationships with their kids and spouses as well. It's all his free will.

The prospect of all that is exactly what causes Lisa so much pain. Who could blame her? Any loving mother only wants the best for her family. But, "the best" ultimately gets to be determined and defined by each individual.

Lisa's job, however, and it's an important one for anyone in a similar situation, is to not shut down her happiness because of this circumstance. She must work on finding her inner peace and move on in the same way her daughter has—no longer choosing to be unhappy and letting her brother's silence effect her joyful life with her wonderful husband and kids and other extended family and friends.

Here's a simple truth that often gets ignored and bulldozed over when we think our heart and mind makes better sense than another's:

You cannot force someone to be different than they are being.
You cannot force someone to see things from a new perspective.

They must choose that for themselves.

No matter how much you believe someone is behaving poorly it's still their choice and their choice alone. And please know that the pain you feel, because of this isn't really due to the other person's behavior. It's because of the way you choose to think about it and the emotional places you take yourself based on the stories you tell yourself.

You really can choose happiness and peace without someone changing their behavior.

In fact it's the only real power you have. To help you in the process, surround yourself with genuinely happy people. People who want to bring happiness to others and who recognize forgiveness as way of freeing themselves from making the past part of the present.

And always remember, when you can still love and show love toward the person whose behavior you're not in agreement with, you are a walking reminder of the absolute truth of life's most important purpose. 

Now, if you're still feeling a deep-seated need to have a dialogue with someone whose behavior you disagree with—that doesn't directly involve you—then you're best approach is to seek to understand without needing to be understood.

You're just there to listen.

Sometimes something new is learned that you never thought of and although you may still disagree with the behavior, at least you have another perspective that opens the door for more compassion. And all you have to say to bring closure is, "Okay, I hear you and I love you. Thank you for sharing your side of things."

Give them a hug and move on to something joyful.

Linda Salazar, founder of Your Heart Is In Your Hands, is a Relationship Coach, author, speaker, Scientific Hand Analyst and media personality working with smart, proactive, spiritually open women who are ready for remarkable relationships.
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