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Why knowing the motive helps you choose what matters most

I’m visiting my sister.

She lives 2,000 miles away from me.

We don’t get to come into each other’s worlds as often as we’d prefer.

And in ways it’s easier for me to travel to her because she travels for work and when she’s not traveling, she has a houseful of dogs to care for.

Her moments home are split between caring for the dogs, doing errands to upkeep the house, and fitting in appointments she needs to take care of in between her road trips.

So this past weekend when I flew in spontaneously (she offered me a pass and it made last minute travel a cinch), I wasn’t surprised at all to walk into an already plotted, maxxed out weekend of appointments.

I already knew I’d be sharing time with her in between her doing her have to’s and me doing mine.

We’ve both already reached that place where supporting one another’s now’s means letting go preferences of uninterrupted time.

But it wasn’t always so.

Used to be there were visits where I’d show up into her world and feel really hurt that she went about her days business as usual without carving out really any solo time for us.

Used to be I’d get really offended and feel like I didn’t matter to her that much.

Used to be I’d end up going home feeling empty and wondering why I keep bothering to try to grow my relationship with my sister.

I remember wrestling with all of that 2 years ago.

She’d phoned to tell me she was getting divorced.

She implored me to come out to help her just as I was offering to jump on the next plane.

After hanging up the phone, it started to dawn on me what I’d just committed to.

And while telling that story–how my week visit to help turned into 4 months of supporting a tough transition–isn’t the purpose of this post, lemme offer this:

What allowed me to say yes to her then need and what keeps nudging me to say yes to continuing to build and grow with her is this:

We both know our motive.

We both ‘get’ we love one another deeply.

We both know that while we share completely different worlds, our ‘nows’ and keeping up with each detail, matters. And always will.

And knowing that motive, the love that is there and the vested interest in furthering our connection, enables both of us to continue to make the effort to be involved in one another’s lives.

Even when it’s not easy.

Even when it means dealing with a bunch of stuff that maybe isn’t familiar.

Even when it means moments together are shared between so much other ‘stuff.’

My point: without that shared motive of love and a deep desire to keep growing, keep wanting to know about eachother’s worlds, it could be difficult to feel the benefit or outcome of visits is worth your while.

I get that.

I really do.

And while I’m by no means an expert yet on compromising or even defending what I need in relationships, I know this:

when you sense that the motive is love, you work non stop to see your way through with someone.

You don’t give up.

You don’t stay on your side expecting all to cave to your needs.

You compromise.

You adjust.

You make it work.

Because it matters.

Vested interest, mutual support and affection for one another’s needs, all of that can be determined by looking at someone’s motives.

If you’re in a relationship right now where you feel any ounce of “They never give me the time of day…they never think about what I might need, they’re always steam rolling over me like I’m invisible” …I wanna hug you, hold your heart and tell you I get it.

Because I do.

But then I wanna invite you to consider this: Is there love there?

And this: Have you expressed what you need to that individual or to those people who you feel invisible with?

And more, is it possible that the choices the others are making are simply consequential to the demands of their work schedule and not per se intentionally trying to ignore you?

Navigating relationships is not easy, especially with family.

Knowing motive is key.

But if there’s a mutual interested motive in loving one another, if there’s a genuine desire to stay actively present, involved, and aware of each other’s now, then there’s deep merit in making it work, however you are nudged to voice your needs, however you are nudged to asking the other for what his or her needs are.

Knowing the motive is the first teensy bit but it is the vital radar for everything that will follow.

And when I learned that my sister was genuinely interested in furthering us, that she absolutely cared about staying involved in my now from an objective place, not out of a desire to change me or sway me, but out of a genuine desire to be involved, that meant everything to me.

I know this post has stayed pretty surface.

The way we each define and measure love differs vastly. I know.

But when unconditional love is there, limits dissolve, rigid structures fall away, rules soften.

So this is just me nudging you before you stay in that land of feeling invisible, in that land of feeling used, or even in that land of justifying your distance based on how you think someone has treated you, ask yourself if you’ve discerned the motive…and if love is truly there, stop at nothing to work it out.

Because it matters. Deeply much.

Would value your thoughts….and as always, thanks for being here. 🙂

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Sirohiniren September 1, 2010, 9:12 am

    Good thoughts. If the motive is there then it pays to heed and listen to it and act to make it a reality. But what if it aint there? What if we find ourselves searching always for a motive and feeling like we never find it? I think with family the motive is always there…with parents, with kids. But sometimes that doesnt feel enough and we find ourselves searching elsewhere.

  • Chichi June 12, 2010, 9:42 pm

    Tresha, I agree that “when unconditional love is there, limits dissolve, rigid structures fall away, rules soften” – so true. Navigating relationships isn't easy, but as Abdu'l-Baha said, “where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.” If love is there, it's worthwhile to work on the relationship and cut the other person some slack. I'll do this as long as the other person is willing to work with me.

  • John Haydon June 6, 2010, 1:12 am

    Let me know how you make out.

  • Tresha Thorsen June 4, 2010, 4:14 am

    Hey John,
    What a neat topic…will do. 🙂

  • John Haydon June 3, 2010, 11:38 pm

    Tresha – thank you for sharing! I have a post on my blog called “What My Mom
    Taught Me About Social Media”. Check it out if you have time.

  • Tresha Thorsen May 27, 2010, 3:34 pm

    wow. phenomenal. what a gift, truly, that there was this coming together. i totally get that value. 1 hour can feel like it melts away all the distance. gives me such joy to know ya'll had that reuniting….please share if you write about it….not only for the lessons between the 3 of you but how it will impact your children….goodness. sooo huge. and soooo grateful you chose to share here. 🙂

  • John Haydon May 27, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Tresha – What are great experience with your sister! Last weekend I hung out with my two brothers (we're all about a year apart in age) for the first time in nine years. Bill and Jim haven't been on speaking terms for at least 15 years, but this past year, they wanted to reach out to each other. For years it pained me to be in the middle, having good connections with them both but wanting them both to connect with each other.

    We only spent about 3 hours together this past Sunday with our kids (Bill has 3, I have one, Jim has none), but it was a day I'll never forget.

  • Tresha Thorsen May 27, 2010, 12:17 am

    well said yok…thanks for that…back atcha:)

  • Yok May 26, 2010, 6:49 pm

    Funny, that's how I see our friendship in many ways, we're committed not to spending the most time together or doing many things together but in going through the process itself.

    Not being esoteric here but it's about knowing that the friendship is there though we may not have the time to talk or write that much. It's holding the friendship in our hearts.

    Okay so it's the summarized shortened version of it but you get the point.

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