My brother has gone through a tough time lately. And, even though I hate to see him hurting and the things that have resulted from that pain, our relationship, his and mine, has grown. It has grown more in the last year than the previous 32.
We've had some great conversations. Some dark and depressing and some silly.
But, through it all, through all the decisions that he needed to make, I would tell him "I just want you to be happy".
But, if I'm honest with myself, and ultimately, with him, what I should say is this:
"I want you to be happy WHEN you follow my advice." or "I want you to be happy IF you do things the way I would do them".
Because, truth be told, I would advice him and talk to him and listen to him. And tell him "be happy". Then, a couple days later ( or in some cases, hours) he'd call and let me know what he decided. And, it felt wrong. And, it would upset me.
But, he's happy. And, isn't that what I said I wanted all along? For him to be happy?
His happiness shouldn't be conditional. My support of him certainly shouldn't be conditional (ok, if he was a mass murderer, perhaps that's a condition I would not support) .
It has made me stop and think:
- everyone's idea of how to be happy is different
- when we give advice, we have to give it freely, no strings attached
- we cannot be surprised, hurt, angry, etc. when our advice is not heeded*
- truly, truly, I do want him to be happy
- most importantly, he's my brother and I will always be here to listen, to laugh and to love.
*does anyone else have a certain t.v. show quote pop into their head whenever the word "heed" is used?