After years of trying to make "conditional" love work, being faced with the idea of "unconditional" love terrified me. Every relationship in my life had a price-tag, you do this - I give you that. My marriages were more like competitions to see who would give in first. I stayed endlessly angry with bosses, with my parents, with anyone who couldn't touch that place inside of me that just would not heal. Problem was, I spent all my life protecting that place.
Fast forward 30+ years, 2 divorces, one disappearing act later, I have figured out that THEY were never the problem. It was me all along. Damn hard pill to swallow, that one. I had the freedom to walk away any time I chose to...yet I continued to stay and try to figure out how to get them to meet my conditions. That is what I had been conditioned to do by my past. I have learned much about relationships since then.
One of the beneficial things about being involved in a recovery fellowship for so many years is that I have been mentored and consistently provided guidance as a mentor to others for most of those years. Our focus is on having a spiritual awakening that will solve all our problems. Thank God they don't all surface at the same time! So checking in with where we are emotionally is the way we continue and grow. Not everyone has that luxury. If I am doing it right I catch things BEFORE they destroy my universe. The entire process is about unconditional love so that we help one another heal. I now see love as a sincere desire to allow the other person to grow emotionally and spiritually...NOT make them into what I think I want.
It took quite a while for me to allow this to filter into my personal life. The others in my fellowship were easy to practice on...they knew EXACTLY what I was dealing with. They taught me to trust. It wasn't until I chose to get into a committed relationship with someone who didn't have a clue about recovery that I really learned what this looked like. For some unknown reason (I suppose it was because he was a good teacher) I chose someone so closed off all I did was try to get him to unravel a bit. It was like pinching a pecan and expecting it to bloom into a rose. Eventually he bolted in the night and never returned. Imagine that.
I was dying inside...for about 3 days. I wailed, I screamed, I gorged on ice cream, and I cussed at God. Heck, if he had given some reason for ghosting like that, at least I could have been mad. Instead I was in shock. After the third day I decided that the lesson here was I still didn't have a clue how to love someone just the way they were. I thought I was supposed to make myself into a person who COULD love them. It did not dawn on me to wait until it came naturally and without effort.
I read books, I walked off the grief, I got focussed on what I had given up to have the men in my life. I got really clear on the feelings I wanted to feel...not what it looked like to everyone else. I played, I stayed centered in the Divine, I took long baths and meditated. Everything I could think of to elevate the energy, and alleviate the pain. And then I put myself out there again. With that knowledge and understanding came the most rewarding marriage I could have ever dreamed of.
Today love is about allowing myself to be scared and do things anyway. It is about sticking around, taking a breath and shutting up long enough to listen to what others feel...not just what I think they are thinking. When I was dating my husband I wanted to run away many times. I kept pointing out my faults to him (sheeesshhh...did I really??) and finally he said "I do not like it when you talk that way about the woman I love". Ouch. I get it now. He saw who I was and wouldn't allow me to scare him off because I was afraid of the kind of love he had to offer. He knew I needed to learn to accept unconditional love and was willing to stick around long enough to let me figure it out.
I am all about love and happiness today...sappy as it might sound to some. We teach others how to treat us by how we present and treat ourselves. I now know how to "look through the eyes of the heart (thank you Father Tony!) at others and realize that each of us has a part to play in this human existence. I don't know what your path is...but now I have an insiders clue to mine, and it helps me let you be you. And that my friends, is unconditional love!
Create a vision in your journal of what unconditional love would feel like today.
Every blog I share comes from the heart and has a challenge or a question within it to help others explore new ways of thinking. I hope that as you read the blogs you would consider starting conversation by commenting. We can learn so much together!