Consider that they have known him his whole life. They don’t know you like he does. They might fear being replaced. You crave approval. There are few relationships fraught with as much potential for misunderstanding and missteps. But these relationships are also full of potential.
Someone once told me that deciding to love each day, no matter how you are loved in return, is powerful and life-changing. It may be the best piece of advice I ever received. To love is indeed a decision, not a “switch” we wait for others or circumstances to turn on inside us. Some days when we’re hanging on by a thread, we even have to choose to love our kids!
Some women, myself included, have in-laws who are easy to love. (We despise those cheap in-law jokes). They are eager to be a part of our lives in great, constructive ways.
Whatever situation you have, it’s likely that at the root of that relationship is a desire for approval. We want them to approve of their son’s choice, and our parenting, and maybe even our housekeeping or cooking. I sure yearned for that support every visit, every phone call, for long.
If I’m honest with myself, I still do. Maybe not approval anymore, but encouragement? You bet.
The chaotic truth of raising kids has taught me that our feelings of worth cannot be tied up in others’ opinions of us. It’s also shown me that we all want to be accepted. But you can’t expect something you’re not willing to give others.
One mother of three reflects what I hear so often: “I wasted a lot of time and energy being bitter. My mother-in-law was pretty critical of everything I did. And that hurt. But when I decided to just accept who she was and look at her with love – no matter what was looking back – I started to see what I thought was criticism much differently. Our relationship changed.”