Ruth said the following:
My sister and I are 5 years apart, she is in her late 30s I am in my early 30s. We live on opposite sides of the country.
[Esther and I] talked on Christmas - but only if I agreed to be play nice. We did exchange gifts. As long as I am willing to play along, she will speak to me - but it is obviously strained and only to make my mom happy. I have always had issues with hypocrisy or injustice - and I hate the fact that she doesn't have the respect for me and my feelings that she expects for herself - but I try.
Is there anything within the teachings that I can use to help her see my even a tiny bit of the pain that we feel when she says Dad, Grandma or I got what we asked for? I don't want to destroy her belief - she has a right to it and I can respect that - as hard as it is for me to refrain from argument.
I am not the kind to sit and let people wallow in ignorance. I take serious exception when someone comes to a conclusion based on erroneous fact or assumption - that is my job. It is my job to present evidence and arguments and win. I can't do that here - and that alone throws me so off balance I am unsure how to proceed.
I have been thinking about this for 2 days. I'm afraid I can't really give Ruth what she's after. I don't have a copy of The Secret but I am quite familiar with the law of attraction as I spelled out awhile ago in a post called The Law of Attraction, and the Secret, are Bullshit. For your convenience, here are the basic rules for the law of attraction again:
Thoughts have an energy that attracts like energy (sometimes borrowed from Quantum Mechanics, minus any evidence). You must control this energy by practicing four things:
- Know what you want.
- Ask the universe for it.
- Feel and behave as if the object of your desire is already with you, or is on its way to you.
- Be open to receiving it.
Of course, if you think negative thoughts, the universe will manifest those negative thoughts in your life as well. So you must think positively at all times so that the universe will manifest all of your desires.
You might notice a few things when you read over the basic concept. Namely, the narcissistic and egocentric worldview, devoid of thinking about the needs and desires of our fellow man. The whole universe magically follows your every thought, tallies them up and does your bidding if you concentrate those thoughts. So the sun doesn't revolve around the earth, the universe revolves around YOU. It's sort of like having your own personal genie or god.
Where in all of this can you find compassion for our fellow man? Nowhere, especially if those less knowledgeable about the petty workings of this busybody universe are normal humans who worry and have negative thoughts. Whatever misfortune befalls those poor saps had it coming to them. That is an extremely harmful worldview, not to mention devoid of reality, common sense and compassion.
So Ruth is feeling the full sting of The Secret. Her sister has deemed her toxic because she has had physical problems since she was in her early teens. According to Esther, Ruth has attracted her ailments to her, that she asked to be sick.
This is the farthest concept from empathy I can think of when it comes to someone who is suffering. Instead of showing compassion for her sister, she avoids her, presumably to avoid the magical negative vibes. That's pretty heartless and uncaring.
So how can Ruth get through to someone who is so cold and self-centered? Esther demands that Ruth play nice, but does she do the same? Esther can make the universe bend to her will, yet she can't show compassion to her own sister who has health problems, that Ruth's real-life situation makes her toxic? It has nothing to do with anything based in reality. A book tells her to avoid the negative so she disposes of her sister.
There's just no way to reason with, or appeal to the emotions of, someone who is willing to do that for her own gain through the manipulation of the universe through her thoughts. It's self-serving. It's a belief that is extremely appealing, and easy to confirm whenever the slightest positive thing happens. And if something negative happens, it's easy to make excuses and use that as a confirmation as well. Cherry-picking extraordinaire!
You can't make people see the world the way you do. We are all in our own head in that sense. While Ruth can try to gently win her sister over and show through example that life is full of happy and sad, negative and positive, ups and downs, and it's what you make of it all, well, maybe someday she might change her mind. But Esther seems to have embraced this magical thinking at any cost.
And when you have a false belief based on nothing but a silly book (ahem, religion, anyone?), people who don't believe the same way are actually a threat to you. They threaten your constructed worldview with facts, reality and conflicting evidence. You are in danger of your belief system falling like a house of cards. It seems like it's in your best interest to avoid or attack those "others", even if they are family.
Well, actually it's in your best interest to seek out differing philosophical perspectives, ask a lot of questions, read and study real science and the actual workings of the universe. The real world is so achingly beautiful. It's so fascinating and complex. We understand but a small drop in the bucket of nature. There is so much out there that is real and true and interesting and exciting. Why do people feel the need to search for a supernatural answer? That is so lazy. Nature itself will blow your mind if you observe it. There is so much to learn. And it's all natural. No accountant genies or gods needed.
I have to say a few more things. In talking this over with my friend and my husband, we all agreed that if our sister treated us like Esther, we would probably take a cue from her and think it was a good idea to avoid her for awhile. Why try to have a relationship with someone who doesn't want one in return? I know, that's not how we are raised in society. But in my life, my friends and husband are much more important to me than my blood relatives who are all crazy, dysfunctional and dare I say it, toxic. I make my own family with great friends and my husband. True empathy, affection, love and respect are more important to me than similar genes and a childhood history together. But that's not for everyone.
I also have to say that my opinions are probably a bit more pragmatic and less optimistic than other people might have. If you have differing opinions for Ruth on her situation, please feel free to comment. Or if you want, you can email me privately and I'll forward it on to Ruth. Also feel free to share any experiences you've had with law of attraction. It might be helpful.
Other posts about The Secret: