Loving an Unlovable(?) Family


People say you have to love your family. But what if your family treats you like dirt and treats you like you are a nobody. Why should you love people like that ?

—DDD, Europe


Dear DDD,

A family such as that is indeed very difficult to love. But if we allow ourselves to resent those who treat us badly (whether family or not), we are the ones who suffer the most: our own hearts contract, which not only is very painful, but also inhibits our spiritual growth.

So the question is not whether we should love them, but how to love them. Here are a few ideas. I hope that one or more of them will help you:

  1. Try not to spend any more time with them than is necessary. At present, being together doesn’t help you, and it doesn’t help them.
  2. As long as you relate to them on a personality level, there will be pain. Try instead to relate to them on a soul level. For that, you have to connect with your own soul level, because only then do you have any chance of relating to their souls.
  3. They are souls, just like you, and they are doing the best they can. Maybe their “best” is awful, but it is still their best. Accept that fact, and realize that your own “best” might not always be so good, either.
  4. When you are with them, if they are treating you badly, do not look them in the eyes. Instead, look at them from your spiritual eye to theirs. It will help you get away from personality conflicts.
  5. Be as kind to them as you possibly can be. I know that this is not appealing advice, but remember, it’s about expanding your heart. Treating them well is for your benefit more than theirs.
  6. Pray for them. Do not pray to change them; just pray for their own highest welfare.
  7. Use Paramhansa Yogananda’s peace and harmony prayer: Visualize that person in light and for one minute pray: “Lord, fill him (or her) with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.” Then visualize yourself in light and pray for 15 seconds: “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.” Do this 5 times each day.

I wish you all the best.