I remember Viktor, a successful businessman in his late 40s, who was working through old resentments from childhood, particularly toward his mother, who often made him feel guilty then and even now. During one therapy session he told me, "My mother still expects a phone call and a card on Mother's Day -- after all these years! I go through the motions, but frankly, the ritual feels forced."
Whether your mother was more like June Cleaver or Mommy Dearest, chances are she played a critical role in who you became. And this is what I told to Viktor. Your mother is the reason you are here -- talking, laughing, crying, feeling, loving, excelling and learning. You don't have to be her best friend, but as you grow older and so does she, there are some simple ways to strengthen your bond with her that have benefits for both of you.
For those of us whose mothers are still alive, there are times when the relationship can be filled with conflict, anger or disappointment. So, whether you want to maintain your connection with your mother or need to repair it, here are some tips on how to improve that relationship with your mom.
Embrace what's positive.
In any relationship there are going to be ups and downs. Instead of focusing on what your mother does wrong (from your perspective) or the struggles you have with her, shift your attention to all that she does right and what's good about your relationship. This year, make a list of what you love about your mother and read those qualities to her, or write them in a card. Your true feelings are as good, if not better, than any card from Hallmark.
Respect your differences.
Each of you was born and raised in a different time with distinct values and ways of living. You probably don't agree on everything, even the important things in life. That's OK. But you can learn to acknowledge and respect her thoughts and feelings. There are many people who have been angry with their mother for years. Those are wasted years, and life is too short. This year, resolve to let the differences slide off your back. She never picks up the phone because she doesn't want you to spend the money? Fine. Tell her you like it when she calls you. She chastises you for divorcing? It's OK. Tell her you value her opinion. You're not going to change her, so accept her. Once you do, some of her annoying quirks will seem funny to you, and you'll feel as though you relieved a pressure valve.
Read more at The Huffington Post.