Excerpt from a dialogue with John de Ruiter on June 22, 2015

Q: I have a question about my eight-year-old granddaughter. She’s very sensitive and has a lot of problems at school with fitting in and controlling her anger. I don’t know if there’s a proper diagnosis for her behavior and sometimes it’s very difficult to be with her. I’m wondering how best to support her as her grandmother?

John: By you seeing her instead of seeing a problem. When you see her problem, she is not seen. It’s not that you’re looking away from the problem, but it isn’t really the problem that you’re seeing. You see her.

Q: I think I succeed at that a lot of the time but sometimes she gets so furious that she becomes a danger to herself. I feel that I have to react to keep her safe.

John: That’s you taking care of her as a person and while you take care of her person, don’t let that eclipse how you see her. Then you’re taking care of her person because of the value of her.

Q: She’s such a beautiful child and it hurts to see how frustrated she gets when she doesn’t succeed or isn’t able to meet others’ expectations of her.

John: And she doesn’t need to. It’s only from the perspective of this world that she lacks something. What frees her is when she realizes that she doesn’t need to integrate into this world. That which doesn’t need to integrate into this world is able to integrate into this world, even though that integration process may not keep up with this world.

Q: Do you mean that she has to find her own way in the world and not necessarily try to fit in?

John: Yes.

Q: That’s beautiful because she becomes invisible to people who can’t see who she really is. It really hurts me to see that.

John: And when you are hurt in seeing her reactivity and her not fitting in, that also makes her invisible. When you feel the hurt, that brings your attention to her. The hurt moves your energy, but when you stay in the hurt you can’t see her.

The hurt is really there to turn your attention. Once your attention is turned to her, you don’t need the hurt because there she is. If you stay with the hurt, then you’ll use how you feel in your self about her to express your self to her, and then you can’t see her. You’ll be expressing that you’re feeling sorry for her. When you feel sorry for her you can’t see her. When you feel for her, you can see her a little bit. When you feel her, instead of feeling for her, you can see her more.

In her frustration, what she doesn’t realize is that this world that she’s trying to fit into is artificial – artificial in the sense that it’s upheld by something that can’t stand all by itself. When she’s being what she really is – when she’s in her heart – that stands all by itself. She needs to be that in the midst of what doesn’t hold all by itself. When she can put those two together, she makes her way in this world. If she confuses the two, she’ll hurt herself. She’ll feel that she’s not fitting in this world and that she’s not able to perform.

When you feel hurt in seeing her lack, what you’re actually telling her is that she hurts you. When she sees you hurt by what’s not functioning well in her, that puts her into performance.

Q: Yes, I see that I need to see her not as a diagnosis but as the girl that I love.

John: When you directly see her, and enjoy her despite what’s not functioning in her, that takes her out of performance and there the two of you meet. She realizes that her lack has nothing to do with the two of you meeting. That’s the beginning of her realizing how to move in this world. When she deeply realizes she’s fine, in the midst of everything that’s not working, then it begins to work. If she stays with that, she’ll make her way.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Elsemarie Rishøj says:

    From my heart, John. Thanks.
    It is so helpful to be guided to stay , and meet her in the midst of what ever reaction she has in her daily life.At the moment I am trying to add and find a solution to buy a special trained dog, that can be an extra helper in her daily life. Animals has shown up to be helpful when she gets stressed and upset. So going for an realization in her self that she is so fine as she is, and meeting her with from heart and giving her an entrance to be rested in her self supported by both the parents and by a contact with a dog, hopefully will ease her in finding her way in this world.
    Lots of love.
    Elsemarie, and I am looking foreward to see you in Germany, and perhaps you come to Denmark Soon.

  • Baba says:

    Another wow! Wow!

  • lauren says:

    always so true and heart full

  • Julie says:

    From a parent’s perspective, I hold true to this instruction in dealing with my son.

    Additionally, would John like to comment on times when a teenage boy fails to display empathy and when I feel he should.
    Thank you
    From Australia

  • Judith says:

    So perfectly helpful in difficult circumstances.

  • Rose-Marie Fenrich says:

    Love speaking of love…this is a gold mine. Rose-Marie

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