My husband says, “Love is a choice.” I love that! It is a choice; it is also the true core of who we are. But since humans are complex, we often have reactions to people and circumstances which are much less enlightened! To choose love genuinely can be a challenge sometimes.
I remember growing up in the 1960s when children were told to, “Say you’re sorry and make up”…just like that…”make up”. Well, it didn’t work! Still many of us learned to smile and put a good face on things and “be loving”. But we were not loving and being true to ourselves, so it wasn’t really loving. Often it was giving our power away, burying our truth and not getting our own needs met.
To love others truly, we have to first love and be true to ourselves; one of the most challenging tasks we as humans face. It is perhaps the most essential skill to develop on our journey toward wholeness, and a worthy goal for each moment. Isn’t it a wonderful thing then, that life gives us so many challenges to achieving this goal? Ah, the work-out gym of life that makes us stronger every day!
It can be extremely challenging to love ourselves and others when people are being hateful. This is where life tests the mettle of our willingness to love and be whole. I add to be whole, because to whatever degree we fear, hate or judge, we are separated from our wholeness. When circumstances conspire to make us hate another, we become hateful; that is the greatest challenge to overcome. When we are less than loving, we need to be compassionate and loving to ourselves so we can regain unity with our true core of love. In this way, we find the compassion we need to love others unconditionally too.
Unconditional love is enlightened love; it overcomes hatred and fear. It is the opposite of “making up”… it is gritty, challenging and meaningful. It paves the way to wholeness, opens potentials for growth, and brings true resolution to problems. Unconditional love begins with self-honesty, and leads to self-compassion. These naturally link with Higher Self and Higher Power, allowing love to influence circumstances for the greater good of all.
Each of us is capable of unconditional love, but it is a choice we must make over and over again. Each time we find ourselves afraid, angry, jealous, hateful or judging we can choose to pause before reacting. We can take a step back from a situation, allow Higher Self and Higher Power to awaken love and compassion toward ourselves; then welcome it for others as well. This enables us to respond from unconditional love and with higher intelligence, bringing a positive influence to the circumstance.
Even if we don’t remember to choose love until after we have reacted and then calmed down, we can still rework the energy around the situation retroactively. By re-imagining our response, we can allow love to release the toxic elements of a situation and bring healing and productive change. Others will then find it easier to let go of their negativity then as well.
The power of unconditional love to heal what has already happened is amazing! In order to respond with love to yourself and others in the present, it is sometimes necessary to give love and compassion to yourself and others in the past. Where we have stuffed our feelings, and cut off our lower nature in order to be nice, our power of love is crippled. Unconditional love requires us to stand up for ourselves sometimes; but where our power is stuffed, that can be impossible. When we gain some strength in our self-love and self-compassion, we begin freeing ourselves from the prison of being disempowered by being “too nice” in our past.
Speaking truth from unconditional love is incredibly powerful, and disarms negativity! It isn’t the words so much, as the energy we put out when we do it from love. It can take work to get through the fear, judgment, anger and hatred to be able to do so. Toward this goal, it can be really helpful to practice. For instance, writing a series of practice letters to a person until the toxic energy is gone and the words come out clear, true and loving is an effective tool. The first draft can hold all the nasty and clever things we want to say to them! The second draft can edit that into a non-inflammatory way of speaking our truth. The final draft can carry a tone of compassion, love and respect. Then we can either send the letter, or not. We may choose to speak to the person or not. Sometimes the inner work is enough to change the balance of a situation and allow things to resolve for the better. Sometimes it is necessary to communicate through a letter or in person. Either way it can be done with dignity, love, respect and compassion for ourselves and others.
Acting with unconditional love, centers us within our true self. It frees us to move forward with success in new and important directions in our lives and relationships.