When I bring up this idea of unconditional love, some think about Mother Teresa.
What I teach with unconditional love is that it’s not just for saints. It’s
not just for people who have an unordinary ability to love. It’s an option. It’s not
just an option that requires sacrifice. In fact, it’s an option that can be very selfish.
Let me explain why. The feeling of love is one of those feelings that is pretty much unmatched when you look at all the other feelings available to us. I like to think of being at a party and there’s an hors d’oeuvre tray, which has all the feelings that are available to us. If you could pick from any of those, which one would you pick? I bring this up mainly when it comes to relationships. I’ll say to my client, how do you want to feel towards this person? Maybe it’s your husband, maybe it’s your wife, maybe it’s your child, right? Maybe it’s your mother or your mother in law.
How do you want to feel, if you could pick from this tray, which feeling would you pick?
This is such a great question because most of us pretend that our feelings aren’t choices.
We pretend that it’s not something that we’re creating. It’s something that the other person is creating or that’s just coming over us. For example, a client will say to me, “I just noticed that I don’t love him anymore.”
Love is not something that you just noticed that you’re not doing. The reason why you’re not feeling any emotion including love is that you’re not thinking loving thoughts. I know it sounds simplified but it really is the truth.
People say, “Well, I just fell out of love with him.” Well, you don’t fall out of love.
What happens is you start thinking in a different way. You start having different thought patterns about someone. It may be because they’ve changed and they’re acting different and so that’s the reason you’re having different thought patterns. Still, recognizing that those thoughts are a choice and that those thoughts are creating the feeling that you’re currently having.
When I ask my clients or you would ask your clients, right? If you’re a coach, you would say, “What do you want to feel when you’re around your husband?” They won’t really see that that’s an option.
Then most of them will say, “Well, I’d like to feel at peace,” or “I’d like to just feel neutral.”
That’s fine. What I always suggest is of all the feelings you have to choose from, why not choose love? Why not choose that as the feeling that you most want to feel because it feels the best. If you could always feel love towards someone in your life, wouldn’t that be amazing?
The truth is you can because you are the one that’s creating all of the emotions that you’re feeling. If you notice that you’re not feeling love towards someone, ask yourself, why not? Remember that question, why. It’s one of those great coaching questions. Why not, why am I not feeling the love?
The answer to that question will be all of the thoughts that you’re thinking that’s preventing you from having that feeling. Now, you won’t recognize that those are thoughts. You’ll think the other person is doing something that’s making it hard for you to love them.
The truth is, love is always available. That’s why we call it unconditional love because you can love people unconditionally. You can love them no matter what they do based on what you decide to think.
Here’s why this is such a great idea because if you’re willing to always feel love and you’re willing to always choose thoughts that create love, you are the one that gets to feel the love. You’re the one that gets to experience that. Because I will hear people say all the time, “Well, they don’t deserve my love.” I’ll say, “But wait, love is an emotion you’re feeling so what you’re really doing is denying yourself that feeling in an attempt to punish the other person but notice how that feels when you do that. You’re the one that suffers as well.
Other people will of course benefit and appreciate being in a space where they’re constantly being loved by you, of course, but you are really the one that gets to feel it all the time.”
Think about this for yourself. One of the best ways to kind of learn about unconditional
love is to think about someone that you do love unconditionally.
For most of us, that’s our children, right? Most of us were able to stay in that space of love no matter what our children do. We think in a way that always is generating that feeling, at least on that underlying piece. We may have our moments where we’re frustrated and mad at our kids but always work supporting the idea that we love them unconditionally. That same idea can be applied to any person in your life. You can go all-in with any person.
Most people say, “Well, I don’t want to do that because then I can get hurt.” Remember, you’re the one that’s responsible for how you feel. That person doesn’t hurt you unless you have thoughts about it. I know this seems like a big concept because I’ll always have people say to me, “What if they cheat on me? What if they do something horrible?” That could happen. But withholding your love will not prevent that from happening. In fact, it will create a negative emotion before you have any reason to think of a negative emotion.
In addition to that, if the person does something that you don’t want them to do or they behave in a way that you would rather they didn’t, you still get to decide at that moment whether you’re going to continue to love them. It doesn’t mean you have to stay with them. It doesn’t mean you have to live with them. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to go out to dinner with them. It does mean you always have available that emotion to feel it whenever you want based on whatever you decide to think.
Unconditional love, just give it a try.
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