Honor Thy Father and Mother


You cannot honor someone you do not see clearly with all their strengths and shortcomings, love and hatred, functionality and dysfunction, imperfections and perfections. Truly learning to honor your father and mother is to clearly recognize how they fell short of being loving and whole in relationship, the hurt it caused and the effects of your life. It is not honoring to uphold some fantasy and idealized version, because you are honoring untruth, honoring an illusion, but not honoring your parents.

The work is to examine the ways in which you were hurt or neglected and then to turn inwards and embrace this hurt with the love you did not get. If you can do this for yourself, which is to take responsibility for your own life, you set them free of responsibility and blame, without living in denial, and you start seeing the way in which you have become your parent internally in relationship to yourself and externally in compliance or rebellion to what you received. When you can see how this happened to you, you will be able to see how this happened to them. When you can love and accept both the victim and perpetrator within yourself, you will be able to love and accept them too. Not what they did, but who they are. Because they are you and you are them. To be perfectly clear, honor also includes limit setting with ongoing disrespect and abuse, which may well be the loving thing for you – and so by extension them too.  Limit setting done in respect and love for self, is also love and respect for the other.

“Clarity is not when the feeling is gone – it is when we know what was then, and how to make it different in the present by enfolding the experience in loving observation. What was then is the same as what is now (in other words, the past is the present) unless you bring your loving witness to it. The mere act of observation in love, will change the Now and so undo the past and change the trajectory of the future.”                                                    ~Lyndall Johnson