It’s this that Cordelia might have said to her father, King Lear, to prevent her banishment. But would Lear even have been ready to hear it? Judging from how he lapped up the false, sweet praises of Cordelia’s two psychopath sisters, he hadn’t reached that stage of development where intention is more important than the words themselves. Like a candy-stuffed child who turns up his nose at spinach, Lear was so sated with sugary avowals of love that Cordelia’s refusal to play her sisters’ game had the look of an abdication of the daughterly duty of affection.
Sometimes I need to be your Cordelia.
Sometimes you need me to stop appeasing your ego so I can acknowledge and nurture your true self. This might mean refusing to do things for you that you’re perfectly capable of doing yourself. It might mean refusing to buy you things that add nothing to your personal growth and flowering.
It will certainly mean me going off alone sometimes. This is not abandonment, although it might feel like that to you at first. As a creative human being, I need solitude to renew myself, become whole, and maintain conscious contact with the sacred so that I can go on living in love.
Instead of flattering you I’ll get to know the real you, acknowledging and encouraging your special gifts.
Instead of promising to never hurt you, I’ll be ready to apologise sincerely when I do hurt you.
Instead of buying you status symbols, I’ll write you a poem, paint your portrait, play you some music, cook you something delicious, or show you something beautiful in the natural world.
Instead of fixing your problems, I’ll be there to listen, but only if you’re ready to leave those problems behind.
Instead of always being at your beck and call, I may sometimes be out, trying in my small way to make the world better for you, your children, and your children’s children.
Your sense that I don’t love you is an illusion based on what you see as my refusal to give. I haven’t stopped giving to you. I’m giving you something much better than the thing you ask for.
It’s not that I don’t love you; it’s that my love for you is deeper than the love you demand.