After reading what Charlotte said in her letter, I found myself being able to see good motives behind actions that I had thought were selfishly motivated. Here’s an entry from February 93:
Yesterday I discovered that good and positive and generous motivations lie hidden under all the garbage and habitual self-judgement. I was reading a passage from Dec ’86 in which I quote “the desire to be helpful is really a wish to control”. I don’t buy that completely for myself, but I do end up judging my desire to help as disfunctional. Now I see that it is not my desire to help that is disfunctional, but my distorted ideas of what constitutes “help” and my compulsive desire to help even at the expense of taking care of myself. My desire to help is that generous child’s impulse and should be honored. Then as I struggle with the issue of trying to help Beverly, distrusting myself and my motives all over the place, blaming and judging myself for being self-serving, what shines through strong and clear is my willingness to work on my own stuff in order to be truly helpful to my friend, and the fact that she did find it helpful.
It interests me how quick I am to assume that my motives were selfish. My mother was very good at hiding her selfish motives behind pretensions of virtue, and I could see that wasn’t true. I was so afraid of doing the same thing, that I tended to think the worst of myself. It’s also true that mother treated me as though I was selfish, as though my actions were done deliberately to hurt her, etc.