Choosing Unconditional Love
“If you can’t love yourself unconditionally you will fail to love anyone else unconditionally”
In ‘The Power of Stories’ I wrote about the way the stories we tell about ourselves and what we deserve from life create our reality. In the Self Mastery Program, the first of the eight principles is Self Belief and one of the core practices is the ability to uncover these deep seated stories and to begin to re-write the ones that don’t serve us.
However, underlying these stories is a fundamental question: “Do you love yourself unconditionally?”
When asked this most people immediately respond “Of course I do” but a bit of questioning often uncovers doubt. For instance, imagine that it is late in the day, the phone rings, you answer it and upon speaking to your sister realise that you have forgotten your Mother’s birthday.
Later that night as you lie in bed do you berate yourself for being such a forgetful twit or have you graciously forgiven yourself and resolved to find a better way of remembering things in the future?
Or imagine that as you were trying to sort out an incorrect telephone bill by trying to communicate with a customer ‘service’ representative in some far away country who’s first language you are sure is DEFINITELY not English, your daughter tips her tray of paints over the new carpet and you – despite having done your morning yoga and meditation – completely LOSE IT at her and drive her to tears.
- Forgive yourself unconditionally and move on?
- Mull over it berating yourself constantly for being a bad parent and tell yourself that you have most likely just caused your child long term deep psychological scaring that – in 15 years time – will result in them turning to drugs and blaming YOU for it?
- Absolve yourself of ALL responsibility by blaming the stupid telecoms person and repeating this story to your 3 year old daughter in the hope that somehow she will understand this and FORGIVE you?
See the point?? Is the little voice inside your head your friend or your judgemental persecutor constantly there to remind you what you have done wrong and why you should feel guilty and UNWORTHY of love???
So maybe I am exaggerating a little and then again maybe not?
But where does this judgmental stuff come from and how do we shift beyond it so we can embrace ourselves unconditionally?
Think about it this way – up until the age of about 2 we can generally do no wrong. Babies can vomit all over you, poo in their pants, break things, keep you up all night crying and STILL you will love them unconditionally.
Then somewhere around age 2 you want them to do a few more things for themselves and you start to get a little bit annoyed if they don’t do them. For instance, you want them to feed themselves and if they throw the food all over the floor you get upset.
You want them to wee in the toilet but they wee on the floor and you get upset.
Your message – with the greatest of good intent – is “Do this the right way (in other words how I say) and you are a good boy/girl and daddy/mummy loves you”
Their response to the message is probably something like – “Hey wait a second I used to be able to do anything and you loved me now that’s all changed and become conditional upon me doing and being a certain way”
Reflecting back on the Ontological model for being below:-
Over in the Past are our stories about how the world works and what is right and wrong etc. Because we have a certain fixed view about how the world works and therefore what one must do and how one must be to ‘get ahead’ – we pass it on to our children. We say to them “This is the right way to do things, this is the right way to be” and our leverage for getting them to do and be this way is to give them acknowledgement for good stuff and discouragement for bad stuff. Hence our attention – and by interpretation our love – is conditional.
So fast forward to adult hood and here we are with this little internalised dialogue about what is right and wrong and how the world works. If we do the right thing then we ‘tell’ ourselves ‘well done’. But if we do the wrong thing then we ‘tell’ ourselves ‘bad girl/boy’. Hence the consequence is often ‘bad girl/boy’ you don’t deserve to receive love and abundance.
So come back to changing ourselves and changing the world.
Let’s take some responsibility here – as convenient as it may be to blame our parents for all of our internalised faults and hence absolve ourselves of any responsibility and embrace the notion of victimhood.
If you want to shift the internal stories you tell about yourself and what you believe you deserve from life then the first thing is to CHOOSE to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY.
That is, despite whatever ‘bad’ things you may do CHOOSE to remain in a loving space for yourself. Now I don’t mean that you should jump up and go off and rob the corner store – that would be silly – remember Self Mastery is about taking RESPONSIBILITY and stepping up to change ourselves and change the world.
WE ARE THE ONES WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.
So, stop waiting and get moving.
CHOOSE to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY.
Recognise where the negative self talk comes from. Recognise that your parents and those who influenced you in your formative years did the best that they could.
And this doesn’t mean that you should ignore any negative things you may do or be. What I am saying is acknowledge and redirect.
“Even though I yelled at my daughter today and made her cry I choose to forgive myself and to love myself unconditionally and I set my intention to be calm, loving and less reactive in future”
The starting point is to choose. Judgement and negative stories about yourself will take you straight back into the Past/Present loop which will simply perpetuate your old way of being. And as I have written before, as soon as you start telling that negative story about how ‘bad’ you are, there will be a series of past events flashing before your eyes providing you with reams of evidence for why this is TRUE.
But YES it is just a STORY remember?
So – standing here totally in the present I acknowledge what I have done and I acknowledge the story that I have about myself however I choose to turn to face the future and love myself unconditionally.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you can see no shadows”Helen Keller
In other words “I see what I have done or how I have been but this is not me, this is not who I chose to be and I resolve to move forwards to strive to create a different future.”
When you CHOOSE to love yourself unconditionally and choose not to berate yourself for your failings but to acknowledge and redirect you change the story about what it is that you DESERVE from life.
If you are constantly telling yourself where you have gone wrong and what a bad person you are the consequence is that you don’t believe you deserve much from life and hence – guess what – that’s what you get!
Choose to love yourself unconditionally and to take responsibility for creating a greater you and suddenly you have a much bigger space for what you DESERVE from life. If you’re not such a bad person you deserve a bit more. If you focus on what you are doing right and begin to emphasise the positive then maybe you deserve a lot more from life?
So – how to shift all this?
- CHOOSE to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY
- Become aware of the stories you tell about yourself and the times when you are berating yourself
- Acknowledge these stories then re-write them according to what you want
- Get into the habit of asking ‘What am I doing right?’
The result of this is that you will change your relationship with yourself.
The beautiful and amazing result of that is that you will change your relationship with others. Instead of projecting your crap onto them and being conditional in your love for them you will be able to hold a space of UNCONDITIONAL love.
That is, instead of loving someone as long as they act in a certain way towards you – you can CHOOSE to love them REGARDLESS of how they are being or what they are doing. In this way you will set the tone of your relationship and truly hold a loving space for them.
And in this way love becomes divine power.
Divine power enough to change the world.