Do You Brand the People You Love?

The last time we spoke to Lily, she was struggling with the love/anger acid test, which I wrote about here. She was stumped by how to love someone while still being angry at them, and how to be angry at someone she loved. We had been talking about looking at ourselves. About being willing to grow emotionally. About looking for the spiritual lessons in all our experiences.

“I remember the first time you told me to look for a spiritual lesson,” Lily told me. “It was right after I failed at a business venture. You said to look for the lesson and I got angry. I thought you were just trying to put a Madison Avenue spin on failure. I thought you just wanted it to be easier to take.”

“And then what happened?” I asked.

“It dawned on me that I could either take the experience at face value or go deeper and really look for something to get out of that failure,” she went on. “When you’re in it, and you’re angry and upset, you don’t want to hear about the lesson. I guess you just want things to go your own way. But then I realized you were right. I have to go deeper and think, what is the spiritual lesson?”

Lily was searching for the spiritual lesson now, with her daughter. It dawned on her that she had to look at her part in

the argument. And she realized another lesson – via Madison Avenue. She’d branded her daughter. She’d given her the label, “teenager,” and couldn’t see past the brand. She couldn’t “hear” what her daughter was trying to tell her because she was too busy seeing her as the rebellious, temperamental, moody teen.

Do you brand the people you love? Can you see beyond the outward label?

We can look for the spiritual lessons in all our experiences.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
This entry was posted in Lily and her stories, Other people and us, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Do You Brand the People You Love?

  1. Diana,

    Interesting take to describe the human tendency to stereotype and label as branding. I like it!

    The thing I am reminded of is something from Quantum Physics (or at least my feeble memory and understanding of it from the few books I read where I came across it). Apparently there are these sub-atomic particles that if you measure their motion, they are in motion, and if you measure their position, they are stationary. What you choose to measure determines what the particle is!

    • dianabletter says:

      David, that is a fascinating concept. Dust off your Quantum Physics textbooks and share what you learn!

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