When you get married, you don’t only marry your spouse – you also marry their family. There are so many stories about conflicts with in-laws that the topic is almost cliché, but for many people, these types of struggles are an unfortunate reality.
Family dynamics change quickly when a new person is added to the family unit, and sometimes these changes can bring out the worst in people. It may be easy for a disgruntled daughter-in-law to believe that her mother-in-law is out to get to her, and it’s not rare to hear a mother-in-law say they feel like they’ve been replaced. Sometimes it can even be our own insecurities making us see the worst in each other. This beautiful, Chinese fable tells the story of a woman named Li-Li who got a bit too carried away with her hatred of her mother-in-law. Instead of resolving the problems between them, Li-Li decided to kill her mother-in-law instead. Little did she know, however, her plan wouldn’t go as anticipated…
Follow along with the story text below.
Many, many years ago in China, a woman named Li-Li married her husband and went to live with him and her new mother-in-law. It wasn’t long before Li-Li realized that she did not get along with her new mother-in-law at all.
Li-Li found the woman’s habits to be annoying, their personalities clashed, and the mother-in-law criticized Li-Li constantly.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, but the arguing between Li-Li and her mother-in-law kept getting worse. What made Li-Li even more upset was, due to Chinese culture, she had to show deference to her mother-in-law. The household anger and tension were making her husband feel distressed.
Eventually, Li-Li had enough – she wasn’t going to deal with the attitude and commands anymore. So she was going to do something about it.
Li-Li secretly went to visit her father’s good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs. She explained the situation to him and asked for some poisonous herbs to end her problem once and for all. Mr. Huang paused for a moment and then replied:
“Yes, Li-Li. I will help you solve your problem. However, you must listen and follow my rules exactly.”
“Of course, Mr. Huang,” Li-Li replied. “I’ll do whatever it is you tell me to do.”
So, he went into the backroom, and after a few moments, he appeared with a bag of herbs. Mr. Huang looked at Li-Li and said, “You cannot use fast-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, people will certainly become suspicious. So, I have given you herbs that will slowly poison her over time. Every single day, you should cook her something delicious and sprinkle some of these herbs on her meal. And to make sure no one suspects you when she dies, you must be kind to her and not argue with her. In fact, treat her like a queen.”
Li-Li ran home and immediately put the plan into action. Days, weeks, and months went by while Li-Li cooked and served the herbs to her mother-in-law.
Every. Single. Night.
After six months, the entire energy of the household changed.
Li-Li learned how to control her temper and, as a result, her mother-in-law was becoming nicer each day.
It wasn’t long before she was bragging to friends that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law.
Li-Li finally realized her mistake, ran back to Mr. Huang’s and, in a panic, said, “Please help me remove the poison from my mother-in-law. She’s changed, so have I, and we actually get along quite well.” Mr. Huang looked at her and smiled, expecting this day to come.
“Don’t worry, Li-Li,” he replied. “I never gave you poison. They were only herbs to make her healthy. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but now, that has all been washed away by love.”
If there’s one lesson to take away from this story, it’s that, more often than not, the solutions to our problems are internal, rather than external.
When we work on ourselves and improve our perspectives of difficult situations, it can have a profound impact on the external world in ways we could have never imagined.
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Source: YouTube – Shareably