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Now, My Family Can Really Be Called ‘Family’

Shinja Kim / Ad Production Planning Director

I have a husband who earns good money and two good looking sons. On the surface, our household was a happy picture, but on the inside my family rotted away. As a primary school teacher, I was married when I was 26. I wanted to make a perfect and happy home, but nothing went my way.

Depression after a decade of marriage; An ultimatum to my husband: “I’m leaving”

My husband, who had a strong desire to succeed, only wanted to focus on his work. On the weekend, he golfed with other men to network and get more business. He was a person who thought that if he made money, he served his role as head of the household. I didn’t want to say anything because he was a good provider so I suppressed all of my hostility and frustration about our situation. Even if my husband’s behavior was out of my control, I could still raise my children the way I wanted.

So, I imposed all of my personal standards of what is right and what is wrong on my children. When their behavior didn’t meet my standards – as often was the case – I would hit them. If there was something that I didn’t know about my children, it would make me feel anxious and meddle in their business. Eventually, I drove my children away from me. I couldn’t understand them at the time. Our family may have been living together in the same house but it felt like we were all living alone. I felt so lonely.

Then I started to feel physical problems. My body hurt. I was dizzy and had shortness of breath. My organs’ functions were weak for no reason at all. I eventually had no choice but to quit my teaching job of 13 years. I wanted everything to look good to others and my pride was so strong that I had suppressed all the problems of my home life from everyone around me. In front of others, I always wanted to look like we had the perfect family. I suffered like that for a while and eventually became depressed. Life was really gray. It was too hard.

At one point, I gave my husband an ultimatum. I told him, “Either I’m going to leave you, or I’m going to jump out of a window!” My husband, who didn’t know how serious my condition was, seemed shocked. Then, one day, he brought me a book on meditation that was given to him by a co-worker. I didn’t know what meditation was all about, but it was good just to leave home for a week.

If you’re worried about family conflict and family discord, you have to empty your mind

In July 2003, I started meditation. I cried a lot when I took a good look at my life. I was living in hardship, holding on to my vain pride, honor, and greed that didn’t exist. What I realized while looking back was that I had never really thought about the minds of my children. Everything I had done for my children was for my own pride. It was smothering to my children. I had to let it all go.

In the meantime, all kinds of minds, such as hatred, resentment, anger, and loneliness – which had been accumulated in the past – disappeared. My body and mind became lighter each day, and I could feel the change in myself.

A few months after starting this meditation method, I told my husband, “I haven’t made breakfast in the past, but I’ll take care of it from now on.” I had been sick for a long time, so I have never made breakfast well. How difficult it must have been for my husband to always eat alone in the morning and then to come home late at night when his family was asleep.

Nervousness and irritation have disappeared. I can truly understand and consider things from my husband’s and children’s perspectives. My health has also improved noticeably. Eventually, my husband began meditating. After meditation, he said he felt sorry that he had done nothing for his family. My husband, who used to know nothing but work, has now begun trying to do things for his family. My children also became brighter and more mature, changing beyond recognition after attending a youth meditation retreat.

After doing this meditation I absolutely trust my children. I respect my children’s wishes and let them do whatever they want. The more I trust them, the better they seem to do on their own. The conversations with my children have also increased. When I used to interfere, they didn’t want to talk with me. But now they speak more freely with me. These days, our family hugs and greets each other when we wake up in the morning. Now my family can really be called a family.

These days I find that people consult with me a lot. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be a single home without some kind of conflict. When they talk to me, I share my experiences.

If you are worried about discord in your family, I want to tell you to clean your mind. After you empty all of the complicated minds that are boiling within you, you will find your original mind that is love and warmth itself. When we become one with that love, our conflicts disappear by themselves. Now, it is no longer about my expectation of my husband or my children, it is my husband and my children exactly as they are… I am so grateful for them.

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