Click for audio: When Tough Love is Called For
Of the three primary areas of concern that all of us deal with–health, prosperity, and relationships–the matter of relationships may be one of the most challenging. Most of us struggle with the notion of judgment, often in fear that if we pass judgment on another, we might also be judged and, in some way, punished for our judgment. We are also quite aware of our own imperfections and question our right to acknowledge and challenge the potentially destructive behavior of another.
Imagine an airliner flying to a specific destination carrying a group of passengers. In mid flight, a small group of these passengers decides among themselves that they want the airplane to go to another destination. They notify the flight attendant of their new ideas and they demand that the captain change course. It does not matter to this small group that the other passengers have boarded this flight because it met their needs. Should the captain and these passengers meekly submit to the wishes of this small but very vocal group?
Of course not. Are the wishes of these demanding people wrong? No. Are they on the wrong flight? Yes. There are other flights that will take them to their desired destination. Those who are on the flight because it meets their needs have no moral or spiritual obligation to give in to the demands of the dissenters.
When we find ourselves in a situation when a manipulative person is using us to fulfill their own selfish ends, we are called upon to exercise tough love. We certainly want them to be on the right flight, so to speak, and we are willing to do what we can to help them make the right connection. We are under no obligation, however, to fund their choices, change our course for their sake, or meekly give into their needs we cannot, in good conscience, support.
The greatest gift we can give another is to recognize they have their own path, and they have the inner resources to pursue it. They do not need to take from you anything that represents their highest good. Reminding them of this truth might be seen as tough love, but it is the kind of love that will do more than anything to help another connect with their desired destination.