Tara Westover: “You Can Love Someone & Still Choose to Say Goodbye” | SuperSoul Sunday | OWN

Tara Westover: “You Can Love Someone & Still Choose to Say Goodbye” | SuperSoul Sunday | OWN

September 1, 2019 45 By Ronny Jaskolski


– There is a belief
in our culture– not just our culture,
I think many cultures– that family is
everything, that it’s the first tribe
and the last tribe, that family is alpha and omega. And you said something
in an interview that I was really
struck by its power, and this is for everybody
in the room who’s watching and anybody who’s watching
who needs to hear it. You said, “You can
love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them.” [APPLAUSE] You said, “You can
miss a person every day and still be glad that they’re
no longer in your life.” [APPLAUSE] I think y’all are clapping
because y’all know that’s the truth, right?
AUDIENCE: Yes. And I think that for a lot of
people that’s a contradiction, that if you love, then you’re
supposed to put up with it no matter what and that if you,
you know, are missing them, then you can’t also be
glad that they’re gone. But, I mean, I think there’s
such power and wisdom in that. I think there was a long
time for me I thought because I loved him that meant maybe
I’d made the wrong decision or because I miss them,
then I would second guess myself and think, oh,
because I miss them it must mean that I’ve
made a mistake. And it took me a really
long time to figure out that, yeah, love is just love. One of the last things
that happened between me and my father the last time
I saw him, he came over and he gave me this
really awkward side hug. And he said to me, “I love you. You know that?” And I said, “I do. That has never been the issue.” And I always knew
my father loved me. Of course I knew
he loved me, and I don’t think my dad
did anything that he did from a lack of love. And I think we do love a real
disservice when we make it about control and power
and changing people, and that’s not what it is. You love people. You give them that
for free, and then you decide whether that’s
something that you want to have in your life. And the alternative is to say,
well, I’m going to change them, and then I’ll have them in
my life, and that’s not love. That’s not what love is. That’s not what it
does, and that’s not the power that it has. So I would say with my own
family, I love them now. I’m estranged from
half my family. I love them very much,
but I’ve accepted the fact that I need them to change
to have them in my life, and whether or not they
change is something I have no control over. And you write that
every time you return to your father’s house, in
your mind you were still kind of that 16-year-old girl and
that your final transformation, you say, it was the one that
allowed you to actually break free from your family occurred
when inside your mind you stopped being the daughter
your father raised and became your own self. I think for me, it
comes down to being able to conceive of
a different thing than the life you
have in front of you. There’s a scripture
that I really like. It’s about faith. It’s my favorite scripture. I loved it when I was
Mormon, and I love it and I’m not Mormon still. I still love it. And it’s Hebrews. I think it’s 11:1. And it says that faith is the
substance of things hoped for– –things hoped for. –the evidence
of things not seen. [APPLAUSE] Church people! Church people. Church people in here! And I think for me there was
one of the things that made it hard for me to let
go of my family was not being able to imagine
any kind of future life that didn’t have them
in it, and I think that’s what everybody does. We grow up in these families,
and we learn certain patterns. And we think that we’re
all liberated and changed, and then as soon as we get
back in that situation, we repeat those patterns. Or worse, very often we
have dysfunctional family relationships, and then
we go out into the world and we find people who will
repeat that pattern with us. Yeah, some people
never leave it. Yeah.
– We attract those people. And I think I love
this idea of faith as a belief in a better
world and a different world and a different life
than you’ve experienced, love that you may not
have experienced yet. But to let go of what is and try
to see what things could be I think of as a really
amazing intersection between faith and
education because it’s those two things together. It’s the ability to
see your life as it is and imagine a different life.