Hope is Diplomacy: Listening is Loving

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There is no beauty without hope.

Diplomacy can be very important in helping and encouraging people that are particular.  My father is a very intense, high-strung, and caring man.  He doesn’t take care of his health, and he rarely considers how much his childhood impacted him.  He never had the time.  Besides, even if you think back, you’ll remember very little.  He is extraordinarily hyper vigilant, tense, and prone to despair or black-and-white thinking.   On the other hand, he is pure and wise.  Nobody is harder on him than he is, and nobody carries more than he does.

I once said, I don’t know why ancestors were unemotional or ruthless.  I feel it was necessary, to be sturdy or untrusting, to survive.  We live in a safe time statistically speaking, but these behaviors can still bring us back to that reality all the time in our mind.

Catch-22:

I never knew what my dad needed growing up.  My mom couldn’t handle emotion, not of her dad or mine, so she did all that she knew how to – she checked out. I know that people usually marry people similar to their parents.  The people they choose have the same deficiencies of at least one parent.  I don’t know if this is a bad or good thing.  Sometimes it’s easier and more efficient to know what’s in front of you, but sometimes bold risks and going into the unknown is the more logical choice, if things were truly bad.   The problem is those with a rough time, are less able and less likely to take risks.  Every man has to choose for himself.  But within that choice, understanding.

What I know now is that my dad was never going to take care of himself.  He never watched his parents take care, or communicate to each other well.  He gave up on himself, and everyone around him gave up that anything would ever change.  To some degree, change is very slow, and only so much change can be had.  Many people just need more love and care, and less advice.

Activists are frequently frustrated, but it is their idealism that frustrates them.  Change is meant to be slow.  There are so many variables, and humans are drawn to what feels like home.

Time:

If you have a parent who is wise like my dad, or just pessimistic or worn out, it is good to remind them to take care of themselves.  But people have heard all the criticism and advice before.  Sometimes the best you can do is remind them they are loved.  Send salts, unscented candles, books – whatever it is you know they enjoy.  Maybe even if they never use them, they can see someone cares, and that matters more.  Time matters, presence matters.  Perspective matters.

For me, what has encouraged my dad the most was to remind him that my brother will have a hard time taking care of himself one day, if he doesn’t watch my dad do it now.  Sometimes realizing how our behavior affects others is enough for us to start taking care of ourselves.

There are many things that bring sun to people’s lives — a listening ear, gentle advice, love, encouragement — and if one thing is not effective, then surely another is.  There is a difference between optimism and positivity, and what my dad wanted was hope grounded in reality, which is what optimism is.  Hope is pure.

3 thoughts on “Hope is Diplomacy: Listening is Loving

  1. As an “older mom” I thank you for such a heartwarming, caring, and heartfelt write!
    It brought tears to my eyes. 💖

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