Tag Archives: unconditional love

Did You Grow Up Trying to Please Others?

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What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Did you grow up always trying to please others, searching for approval & the need for validation from others & learn to live your life ‘certain’ in the knowledge that were you ‘stupid enough’ to not only have but enforce boundaries with regard to your own life & that by doing so then others wouldn’t, or worse still stop loving you?

If you did I can pretty much say that for you like me life became a vicious cycle of wrestling to cater for your own needs & wants as well as servicing those of others and as such you will have lived anything but a fearless life

I’ve learned many things over the course of my life

However one thing has remained constant & that simply put is this we are ALL of using fighting our own battles & demons on many levels, BUT so are those we are both surrounded by & hold dear. When we are so close that we can’t see the wood for the trees and should one, if not both of us be prepared to see the other side then we get into difficulties.

But there also ALWAYS comes a point when BOTH sides have no choice other than to take responsibility for their part in the problem….

Being brutally honest I’ve learned that in having grown up being a people pleaser & being afraid to set & reinforce boundaries for others in my life, that I had inadvertently become the root cause of the problem!

GUILTY AS CHARGED!

But even so there comes a point in any situation when no matter how much we love, how much we give, how much we ignore, how much we hope that things will change for the better they NEVER will if the all important factor of RESPECT is missing!

But you can be certain of one thing

People can & do get the emotions of LOVE & RESPECT mixed and yet nothing will ever change in a relationship unless both sides both understand and embrace the difference

This is a monumental mistake & the crux of many a failed relationship…husband & wife, father & mother, mother & daughter, the list my friends is endless.

In my humble opinion to love & be loved unconditionally is the greatest gift we will ever be able to give or receive because it comes freely, without strings & by definition without condition.

Respect on the other hand is a privilege. One to be earned, gained if you will & borne on the back of many things and for sure my boundaries & yours will be as different as our fingerprints. Much like the boundaries themselves the reasons others will respect/disrespect us or themselves are equally as varied.

The one thing that people forget is that if a boundary is important enough for someone to set it then it is important enough for the rest of us to respect it.

Whether or not we believe it to be a valid boundary is totally irrelevant.

The problem begins when boundaries & respect become inextricably intertwined with love.

How many times have we heard or even said & moreover believed scenarios such as:

‘If she loved me she wouldn’t ask me to do that”…!

”Whether he loves me or not he should respect my boundaries’…!

Only you can decide if either or both of these generalisations are true and only you can decide whether or not you will put up with either or both of the consequences of them with regard to your own situation BUT for me at least & being brutally honest here…

If someone loves us unconditionally then we don’t have to honour & respect their boundaries – WRONG!

If we truly love someone enough then we will provide them with the boundaries they need. Ones which will help & enable them to thrive & grow in this life, Ones which will allow them to live & learn & grow into someone who they CAN both love & respect themselves in order to enable others t do the same.

If those we love & care for fall into the category of being someone who, no matter how hard you try, how much you give & how much you love continually & habitually not only ignore your boundaries but in doing so totally disrespect them & even go out of their way to cross them?

Then you/we will reach a point where we have to decided what we are prepared to accept & equally what we are not prepared to accept…As Eckhart Tolle so rightly said in any situation;

If you need to change it then do. If you can’t change it then you need to accept it for what it is. If you can’t accept it then it’s time to leave for all else is madness.

There are givers & there are takers in this life and yes there are those who successfully manage both but the question is how much of YOUR LIFE are you prepared to gift to someone who is unwilling or unable to at least meet you half way??

We ALL have limits and on a day where they have been reached the question is will you choose to let them become part of the solution or exacerbate the problem?

Again only time will tell but if like me you have reached a cross roads in your emotional life then maybe it’s time to start a daily practice of self-validation and tell yourself this…

Today I honour myself ENOUGH to take a chance that by being willing to enforce my boundaries then those I love and care for will not only LOVE me but RESPECT my boundaries as well

And after 57 years on this planet as hard as it is and will continue to be? It’s a chance that I am FINALLY willing to take because like you & everyone else on this 3rd rock from the sun know that much like my boundaries …

I MATTER! I AM ENOUGH!

 

Namaste – Sue

 

Love Without Limits

Love Without Limits POST

’Unconditional love is our birth right, not judgement or condemnation and there’s nothing we need to do to earn it’’ Anita Moorjani

Why on earth would anyone presume otherwise?

The giving and receiving of LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY is, or at least SHOULD indeed be our birth right. The act of loving someone is the most natural of gifts one can give to another freely and without the confines of limitation.

RIGHT?

Husband to wife. Mother to son. Sister to brother. Grandmother to grandchildren. Friend to friend. The list is and SHOULD be endless for the capacity to love and be loved is an integral part of the human psyche and is actually what differentiates us from ALL other living, breathing species on the planet.

It matters not WHO or HOW we LOVE but only that we DO!

As a species when it comes to LOVE we stand alone, isolated from the millions of other living, breathing species with whom we cohabit in this world of ours and we can easily see that the concept of LOVE as we know it is an enigma to them. Whilst there are indeed many monogamous species amongst them and indeed some of whom who do display affection to each other, the reason and THE ONLY REASON that they come together ultimately is to ensure procreation to facilitate survival of the species. The females become fertile, they mate/are mated by the male in a manner so clinical and matter of fact it is actually astonishing. They know instinctively that if copulation doesn’t take place regularly and successfully then in a relatively short space of time whole species will become extinct. For them the physical act is EXACTLY that, a means to an end. LOVE as we know it isn’t even a consideration let alone one which could in principal be used to manipulate another by way of emotional blackmail. Their lives as a result (their own natural limitations not withstanding) are so very much simpler. They eat, sleep, breed and………

REPEAT!

In comparison then consider us, the HUMAN RACE for a second; the act of loving another as far as we are concerned is for the most part a mutual exchange of respect, emotion and tenderness regardless of the dynamics of a relationship. In the human world LOVE manifests itself by way of hugging, kissing, holding hands and so on. The intent to procreate occurs as a natural progression of this between consenting adults who wish to take the ultimate step and bring children into the world should they want and/or are able to. Even when unable to conceive naturally, such is the way of the world these days that there are alternative options a loving and committed couple can pursue to realise the desired creation of a family unit as the ultimate expression of their love.

Natural. Simple. Beautiful except……………………………………………

Given that this gift of LOVE is a natural phenomenon, if we begin to explore it further we can see that as with many states of our human emotions it is multifaceted and as such could be construed as either;

Strong affection arising from kinship or inter- personal ties (maternal love for a child), attraction based on sexual desire, affection and tenderness as felt by lovers or affection based on strong attraction or personal attachment between friends.

The very fact that the definition of the word LOVE alone can be so varied means it almost inevitably invites multitudinal interpretations from us which when coupled with accompanying feelings such as pride, lust, jealousy and fear to name but a few, can and indeed does bring into play the element of ‘’control’’ and this is where the Natural. Simple. Beautiful concept of LOVE becomes complex at best, disastrous at worst.

For those of us who may have been deemed ‘’unworthy’’…… (for whatever reason) to be afforded a LOVE without condition or limits, one which can and should naturally be so freely given…………….it very often takes years, if ever, before we even come to question the absolute fact that this gift should be ours to hold dear, free from restraint or condition from the moment we are born.

Indeed the gradual realisation that LOVE (of any type) should by default be ABSOLUTELY UNCONDITIONAL often comes as a major surprise when suddenly we understand that we have, without question ‘’happily’’ accepted the exact opposite to be true !!

That is to say we have totally misunderstood that LOVE in its most natural of states should always be given freely without the requirement of anything in return, without condition or limit. A love which NEVER CHANGES regardless of circumstance. For instance EVEN a mothers love for a child who goes on to commit heinous crimes should/would mean that although in all probability she despises their actions, is embarrassed, feels betrayed even, her love would remain steadfastly unchanged for it is completely NORMAL to LOVE someone whilst at the same time being unable to actually bring ourselves to like either them or their actions, often both at the same time.

It is at this pivotal moment that we perhaps for the first time ever, come to visit then the concept of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

Unfortunately as with all things emotional, life when it comes to the ‘’art’’ of LOVING UNCONDITIONALLY is rarely simple. When we first come to explore the hitherto unconsidered concept it quite naturally gives rise to previously unasked let alone unanswered questions and for me at least these were simply;

• Where did the complication of CONDITIONS BEGIN?
• Why do people EVER feel the NEED to RESTRICT the act of loving?

So where does the complication of condition come into play when we decide not only who or why we love someone but how?

Speaking as both a child and a parent I think I can honestly say two things which I could be secure in proclaiming as fact

It first rears its head in childhood
• It is very much a learned behavioural pattern

Upon exploring these same questions and answers it became apparent to me that even more importantly to us as individuals is the question;

If the affliction of attaching conditions to the gift of love BEGINS IN CHILDHOOD did I learn the behaviour at the hands of my parents?

OR

Was my behaviour the root cause of why my parent/s felt the need to impose condition or limit on an emotion so freely given to and by countless others?

Either way the end result is usually a person who almost regardless of reason grows up feeling insecure, unworthy, unloved and almost always ‘’not good enough’’.

Over the years……..and without wanting to sound dramatic, there were many of them……………I think I can say in all honesty it was actually the realisation that these questions not only existed and were pertinent to my individual circumstances BUT the fact that I had neither the answers NOR the tools with which to work them out that caused me more angst than either the preceding years or the psychological trauma I came to endure amongst other things as a result. For a long while I would berate myself for not; being able to ‘’lay it to rest’’, being able to ‘’understand’’, being able to ‘’move on’’ etc and in doing so perpetuated the falsely entrenched myth in my mind that ‘’ I wasn’t good enough, clever enough, brave enough, nice enough’’ and EVEN WORSE that ‘’I DIDN’T DESERVE to be’’!!!

It does not do at all to dwell on the past and the mistakes made by our parents or carers as they brought us up. They are in all honesty best left where they are – IN THE PAST. A past which has no power over us other than that we choose to give it. I can often be heard to say ‘’There are no mistakes, only lessons to be learned’’ and whilst the mistakes in our past may well have been the cause of many of our ‘’issues’’ as we grew into adulthood, they were those of our parents and over which we had no control. However if we choose not to LEARN for ourselves the lessons our parents didn’t we will for sure make those exact same mistakes again and so t would go on.

As time elapsed and I ‘’matured’’ becoming a parent in my own right along the way, the process of ‘’realisation’’ continued to unfold before me very ably abetted by both the benefits of hindsight and experience of being a child from a situation which left her with a massive inferiority complex and the ‘’on the job training’’ which comes with the scary territory of becoming a first time parent desperate to break the cycle of negative conditioning.

Although I knew absolutely zero about the practicalities of raising a child let alone successfully, I knew one thing for sure and without question;

Our child and any subsequent ones:

WOULD GROW UP SECURE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT NO MATTER WHAT, HE/THEY WOULD NEVER. EVER EXPERIENCE A LOVE WHICH WAS ANYTHING LESS THAN UNCONDITIONAL!

In short I came to understand that the gift that is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE is truly the MOST IMPORTANT gift we will EVER bestow upon our children.

It is OUR RESPONSIBILITY as parents to lay the foundations which will allow our sons and daughters to thrive and grow SECURE IN THE KNOWLEDGE that; they ARE worthy, they ARE beautiful, they ARE clever, they ARE able, they CAN achieve whatever they want to achieve, they CAN be who they want to be, they CAN do what they want to do with THEIR lives.

Their journey is not ours to live, it is not ours to control, it is not ours to restrict in any way, shape or form. It is not ours to project our own experiences and misfortunes onto thus allowing history to repeat itself. In allowing ourselves to forgive our past, we can live in our present whilst all the time looking forward to creating a future for ourselves and our children which is full of Hope, Happiness and leaving us and them secure in the certain knowledge that the love which is both given and received is ABUNDANT and FREELY available without condition always.

It is our RESPONSIBILITY to ensure the negative cycles of the past are broken and replaced with positive guidance should we be asked/needed to, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to nurture, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to enhance positively their self image and increase their measure of their own self worth, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to help them access the life skills and coping strategies which will enable them to move forward as they reach adulthood in their own right as balanced, well-adjusted, confident individuals who can and do know from the outset that they are:

AN AMAZING HUMAN BEING!

With thanks to American singer/songwriter George Benson;

“Greatest Love Of All”

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody is searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on meI decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of allI believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to beAnd if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

WE OWE IT TO OURSELVES – WE OWE TO OUR CHILDREN!