Dr. Thomas Hora would often tell his students that in order to have a more peaceful and harmonious life, we need to lose the shoulds and should-nots from our vocabulary. Many arguments, hurt feelings, and personal stalemates would quickly be resolved by the realization of this principle. Tightly held ultimatums, self-righteous demands, personal tyrannies, and uncompromising interpersonal rules are the fuel of family dysfunction. Freedom and respect go a long way to dissolving family tensions. They help us to release our own interpersonal expectations and they protect us from the stated and silent demands of others. Families frequently have strongly held shoulds and should-nots about many issues. Do we not see the bitter result of this repeatedly? Neither be tyrannized nor tyrannize anyone else.
When spiritual light is turned to the picture of family life, we see things differently. The sweetest families are those where everyone is free to come and go; where everyone is allowed and encouraged to explore their purpose, their best desires, and their individual expression in the world. Much damage is done in ordinary families in the name of loyalty, which is mostly guilt, and under the guise of love, when nothing could be further from the truth. Emotional and spiritual maturity means that we have outgrown our family of birth and its invisible should conditions. We still love our birth families. In fact, we will be better at loving them. However, we will have outgrown the unconscious desire for the love and approval from, generally, less than enlightened family members which always puts us in a vulnerable and detrimental position.
If we take no thought for what should be and what should not be, it does not mean that we will become lazy, selfish, undisciplined, and chaotic. Rather, we will have an overriding sense of the Divine structure and order. Excellence and good character will be driven by the love of goodness and progress, not by fear. Our freedom and peace of mind will be assured. Far from being forgotten or overlooked, we will be loved for our growing graciousness.
This article is from Love’s Longing