"You don't truly love someone until you love their fate, too." - Bert Hellinger

"You don't truly love someone until you love their fate, too." - Bert Hellinger

Here's a quote I love because it reminds me to be wary of the trap of wanting people to change.

It makes me think about all the people I love but wish would find love, be happier, quit drugs, heal, acknowledge they were wrong, believe they are worthy, agree with me, be more spiritual, be less spiritual, stop the paranoia, change their life, and many more.

It's an attractive and innocent feeling to 'want only the best' for someone. But since when was life about experiencing only the best parts? Clearly, life is much deeper than that.

This quote reminds me that the hope that other people will change is at odds with loving and accepting them as they are.

A few months ago I wrote about how powerful it is when a listener says nothing more than "I hear you" or "I see you" when someone is sharing their struggles. It's powerful because acceptance is healing. And trying to solve the problem actually makes it worse.

This Hellinger quote points to the idea that if you think you can change a person's fate, there's a part of them you're not accepting. On some level, you are saying "I know better than you."

But we don't know better for other people. For example, we don't even know if 'being happy' is what another person needs at this time in the larger context of their life. What if being unhappy is the best possible thing they could be going through right now?

We don't know what's best for another person because we only know our experience. And odds are we don't have the solution because we don't know what it's truly like to live someone else's unique fate. A fate that includes their traumas, gender, race, culture, who their parents were and much more. What makes up a person's unique fate is infinitely different from yours.

The deeper we can engage in accepting other people as they are, the better the chance they have to find their own solutions. When someone is accepted, they are able to keep their dignity and their strength and that propels them toward what they need.

It's my experience that what other people need is always deeper and more complex than what we want for them.

Nick Werber