For over two decades I’ve tried to maintain a civil relationship with my sister-in-law, my husband’s brother’s wife. Without dredging up a lot of toxic memories, let’s just say we never hit it off. Both of us, however, have consistently tried to at least tolerate each other. Even so, we’ve had several major fallouts, which have put a strain not only on the two of us, but on other family members as well.
Family is very important to me, and I worried that the relationship between my husband and his brother was suffering because of my feelings toward my sister-in-law. As upsetting as this was, for the longest time I doubted that I could ever really change my outlook about her.
Then something unexpected happened.
Last week my son was coming home from college. I was over the moon and wanted to celebrate his return with a nice family get-together. Instantly I began mentally preparing myself for facing my sister-in-law. Different scenarios ran through my head, complete with the usual negative comments I’ve come to expect from her.
At this point I was open to any suggestions for how best to handle the situation. My friends have heard about this ongoing family drama for far too long, and I didn’t want to burden them with it again. As it turned out, though, a friend did help. Rose [Caiola] had spoken very highly of neuroscientist Joe Dispenza’s work in helping people reprogram their thinking through scientifically proven neurophysiologic principles. I looked up some of Dr. Dispenza’s teachings online. What an eye-opening experience!
A day before the family event, I had a lengthy visit with Rose, and I told her about the amazing information I had read online. She is always so positive and encouraging, and this time was no different. Rose confirmed many of Dr. Dispenza’s concepts and applied them to my situation. She explained that I could break my pattern of behavior, that I could rewire my brain to operate differently.
As she patiently spoke, her words began to sink in. I needed to stop bringing up the past, to put it all behind me, if I wanted to make any real changes in my life. So simple to say, but monumental to put into practice.
Rose presented me with a T-shirt, printed with “Love” on the front and “Rewire Me: Unlock Your Mind” on the back. How perfect! I decided to wear it when my son came home the next day. I wanted to greet him and our guests with the word “Love,” as I put the past behind me. I was giving my brain a chance to make a different connection with a pure, clean slate.
I woke up the next day feeling liberated. In my mind, I would be meeting my sister-in-law for the first time. I cooked dinner and prepared the dining table, waiting for the family to arrive.
Rose’s words were still ringing in my head. “Stop it,” she had said every time my sentence started with the word “but,” as I started to recall past negative experiences. I had to let go, and I am so happy and relieved that I did.
That evening I greeted all our guests with a big smile, a kiss on each cheek, and my sincere thanks for coming. We had a wonderful dinner and sat long after, talking and joking over coffee and desserts.
In all the years we’ve known each other, this was the best night we ever had. A huge smile never left my face, and that’s exactly how I felt inside. I am so thankful for this experience, for opening my mind to other possibilities, for making positive changes in my life, for my friends, their love, and continued support.
I am embracing the change, knowing that each new day will be a great day. There is no stopping now.