How Unconditional Is Your Love?
This is a guest post written by my dear friend, Tess Marshall of The Bold Life.
Three billion people on the face of the earth go to bed hungry every night, but four billion people go to bed every night hungry for a simple word of encouragement and recognition. ~ Robert Cavett, Public Speaker & Lawyer
It’s easy for me to love perfect strangers. As a child, my mom would lead us in prayer when we witnessed a car accident. She taught us to make the sign of the cross when we passed by a cemetery and we often left a bag or two of groceries on the doorsteps of struggling, church families.
I am who I am today because I witnessed a lifetime of my parents’ good deeds. It’s because of their influence that I have a love for all of humanity.
I wave drivers permission to cut in front of me in traffic. I pay someone’s bill when a wallet is forgotten. I donate money to The Smile Train, The Wounded Warriors, and street musicians. I carry bottled water in my car to offer construction workers on sweltering hot days. I’ve volunteered in soup kitchens and an orphanage in Mexico. I’ve cleaned up after hurricanes and counseled the imprisoned. I’ve worked in rehab centers and have counseling the homeless. I go out of my way to thank the staff cleaning airport bathrooms and hotel rooms. I tip generously.
I don’t struggle at all with strangers. My difficulty lies in loving the people that are closest to me.
I struggle, with the most wonderful people in the world, my closest family members and friends.
My son-in-laws make me crazy. A neighbor’s barking dog can put me over the edge. A girlfriend who smothers me with kindness is ignored. A grandchild who doesn’t send a thank-you card has a strike against them. I allow petty stuff to steal my joy.
They are my biggest teachers and their lesson – how to love without conditions. I have become a very good student. I have learned to love, especially when I don’t feel very loving.
Love Is Letting Go
When my daughter was a senior in high school, she left home to live with her boyfriend. I was devastated.
My wise friend Judy consoled me and suggested that each time I thought of her, I see her with a smile on her face. I also put a photo of her on my night stand and told her, ‘I love you,’ before falling asleep at night.
In my mind, I would also “see” things going well for her. I forgave her and I forgave myself. Eventually the loving energy I created helped me let go of my sadness and hurt. I set both of us free.
Love Isn’t Always Easy
For years I went unaware that one of my four daughters was very angry with me. She hid it very well and also lived out of state.
I was a very young and inexperienced mother. I could understand where her anger came from. What upset me was that no matter how I tried I couldn’t change the way she felt.
Unable to undo the damage or make progress, even with a third party, we mutually agreed to stop speaking and spending time together. During that time, I created a vortex of love by taking responsibility for my part in the relationship. It took 18 months before I could completely see my part in the conflict. When I did only the love I felt for both of us remained.
Six months later she knocked on my kitchen door and entered with a box of my favorite cookies, like time has stood still. The more love you offer others, the more loving and fulfilling experiences you’ll have.
Love is action. Love is work.
I have a morning spiritual routine which helps keep me centered and loving throughout the day. I also hold myself accountable by attending a study/support group twice a month.
When I’m tempted to get entangled in the pettiness and negativity of the world, I often use the ancient Hawaiian healing technique, Ho’oponopono, as a mental cleansing, several times a day. This method includes the mantra, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” Doesn’t that says it all?
Offering Love, Support & Happiness Is A Choice
When you recognize a connection to all human beings it becomes easier to choose and offer love.
We all want to love, to be loved, and to know that we matter.
Keep these three universal needs in mind when you are experiencing any difficulty with a spouse, a stranger, or a politician halfway across the world.
We can choose to love others from afar by offering them blessings, which means to encourage, enhance, and uplift with words and thoughts.
By sending a blessing you are sending a deep intention and wish for a person to flourish.
When you put yourself in the flow of love, blessings have the power to cause incredible changes in our minds, bodies, and hearts. Blessings give us the power to help shift our perception in spite of any past error.
How to Love Unconditionally
- Love others the best you can, from where you are.
- Begin today.
- Recognize the good in everyone.
- Wish others well.
- Be a loving presence.
- Bring service to the world.
- See good things happening for others.
- Offer others hope.
- Bring internal love to an external experience.
- Offer gratitude and appreciation.
- See beyond imperfection and flaws.
- Speak kindly of everyone.
- Put yourself on a giving program, be generous.
- Transform judgment into acceptance.
- Imagine that each person you meet has an invisible sign around his neck that states, “Make me feel special”.
- Cease to be at war with anyone.
- Expand your capability for love and kindness.
Learn to love everyone.
I know any problem I have with someone is never about them. It’s always about me. I am 100% responsible for the state of my relationships. I’m the only one whose behavior I have control over. I’m the one projecting my unhealed “stuff”.
When things aren’t going well I have the freedom to change my thoughts, words, and actions. My personal happiness lies in a shift in perception and my willingness to forgive.
Be grateful for your most difficult moments. This is where you find purpose and meaning. This is where you discover unlimited opportunities for greatness. This is where you learn to love unconditionally.
Tess Marshall is a speaker, author, fear shattering, calculated risk taker, obsessed with being bold. Her blog The Bold Life is a juicy mix of inspiration, spirituality, and personal development. Download for free her guide, Peace, Love & Connection and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.