Tiferet. Beauty. Tiferet she’b’chesed, the beauty in love.
I want the people I love to find me beautiful. What do I hope they’ll see? I hope my children will see me as wise, calm, and kind. And I hope my spouse will see me as…actually, I’m not sure. Something good?
Maybe the details don’t matter. I’m just hoping for his unconditional positive regard. I want him to accept me and support me no matter what. Maybe I’ve been crabby or inattentive. Or mismanaged money, ignored an in-law, left him a mess to clean up. By all means, he can let me know I was wrong. Even that I hurt him. But, even then, I want his unconditional positive regard to shine through.
But is this fair?
Ideally, a parent will show a child unconditional love. So the child can grow up safely. Make mistakes, and learn from them. And not worry that each mistake is a fail. My late mother showed me this love. In a real life way, of course, mixed with plenty of confusion, yelling, and punishing. But, tough as it was, it was unconditional love. Nothing I did could shake it. She loved me because I exist. To her, I was beautiful, even on our bad days.
Mom is gone now. And I look to my spouse to take her place. But his mother is gone, too. Probably, he looks to me to take her place. To shine a little unconditional positive regard his way. And remind him how beautiful he is. But do either of us have the energy to do this? When we’re both drained of our own unconditional love sources?
Sometimes, my therapist says: you have to be your own mother now.
Today was the third day of the Omer.
**New to the Omer count? Here’s a primer.