Healing Instead of Controlling…

People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds. Carl Rogers

Meditation: A critical and controlling spirit can kill a person’s sense of self and joy. My family over centuries passed on a critical and controlling spirit from one generation to the next. It might have also been a typical German trait that was passed on this way. Telling others how they are “supposed to be”, that they are “not right”, that they are “wrong” and “falling short” can undermine one’s self-esteem and can wound a person’s healthy sense of joy and pride. I can see this critical German spirit also entering medicine and psychoanalysis as the tendency of always seeing “what is not” and of focusing only on pathology, on short comings and on “abnormalities”. The therapist Carl Rogers counteracted this notion in defining psychotherapy as a “healing encounter”. As we watch another person in awe, we do not try to control them, but let them “be” while enjoying their development. We accept them as being different from our ideals or from us. We are aware of and yet differentiated from our culture bound judgments and expectations. What a different approach! It took me many years to shift to this new paradigm. On my worst days, I am still getting trapped in judgmental and critical thinking and behavior. On my best days, I can “let be” and watch others in awe, delighting in them as they are unfolding, while trusting the complex process of becoming, of learning and of healing.

Prayer: God, in Your presence healing can happen. The notion that You are rejoicing over us is a healing image. Holding onto the assurance that You look at us with loving eyes and that You are so enamored with us that You break out into singing, is a wonderful notion. God, heal our wounds that have come from critical and judgmental eyes watching us and from critical voices wounding us. Remind us again and again that You rejoice over us, especially when our inner critical voices attack us. And then let us be part of many healing encounters. Amen

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephania 3:17