(A photo of Herb Livsey. My high school English teacher, a cherished friend, a mentor to my youngest son, Ben. I loved this person enough to give his last name to my first born, Jared, as his middle name.)
Unconditional love......what does it feel like; what does it look like; what creates it.
Wikipedia defines it as "affection without any limitations, or love without any conditions." They define affection as "a disposition or state of mind or body..... is a feeling or type of love that denotes more than just goodwill or friendship."
A feeling is just a vibration inside our bodies. Physiologically speaking, it is changes in our neurons. Neurons are nerve cells and according to some scientists are easily excitable. Neurons cause us to feel vibrations in our bodies. The vibrations that we feel can be the emotional feelings of happiness or sadness or disappointment or excitement, etc. Our brain sends messages to our neurons through our thoughts that triggers an emotion or vibration. Our thoughts are the drivers of our feelings.
It's important to note that every thought causes a feeling. We don't pay attention to our thoughts so we think what's driving our thoughts is what is happening in our lives, the circumstances.
If we have the story in our minds that our daughter doesn't want any contact with us because we're always giving her suggestions about how she should be raising her children, we are going to perhaps feel rejected and misunderstood. Our story causes us to feel a feeling that causes us to behave in a certain way Our story probably isn't one that causes us to feel love. We say we love our daughter, but when she tells us she doesn't want to see us anymore, we don't fee love. We're probably feeling judgment and rejection and misunderstood....because our thought was, "I was just trying to help".
Our pre-programmed brain wants to tell us that it was her statement that is causing us not to feel love. But she doesn't have the power to create an emotion inside our bodies; she cannot make us feel a certain way; so it's never someone else's fault when we aren't feeling love toward them. Love is always an option and in this situation, we're opting out.
What if we chose to love every one? We would always get to be around people that we love. When you choose not to love someone, you are the one that suffers.
Loving everyone is possible when we don't put any conditions on their behavior in order to love them. We just love them. Period. Think about a person you love the most, more than anyone else in the world. It makes us feel warm inside, complete, content, happy....it makes us feel AMAZING, right? Think about your wedding. We were all surrounded by people we loved. This is why weddings are so awesome. We even love the people we don't know, like someone's date.
This is unconditional love. Just automatically feeling love, no matter what. First come the thoughts then come the feelings. So why no think "I just love everyone". And boom! Your brains goes to work to excite your neurons and you feel nothing but love.
So what does unconditional love look like? Think, how you could describe it to a 6 year old? I would describe it as warm stream flowing gracefully all through my body; I can't keep from smiling; inside my chest it feels the strongest, but it's soft; it's pale pink in color; my mind is free from worry or concern; I feel beautiful; I feel light weighted; my body may be diseased but I feel whole and complete; there's a mass made of rolled up string inside my core that is so intertwined that you could never untangle it and at it's center is excitement and peace. It is the greatest emotion I have ever felt.
The Savior loved us enough that He commanded us to love one another. Just like any commandment he gave us, it was for our benefit, not the benefit of someone else.
I want to tell you about my good friend Herb Livsey (pictured above). "Mr. Livsey" was my English and public speaking teacher in High School. He was the Varsity basketball coach. He was ever present in my life. He was a mentor, a confidant, and a friend to me. He consoled me when I was broken; he supported me in summer job pursuits; he trusted me enough to baby sit for his young family; and he introduced me to new adventures. He remains an important part of my life today.
My Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is very important to me and is a major factor in me being who I am today. My good friend, Herb, isn't interested in learning about something that is so important to me; He had a hot, hot temper on the basketball court as a coach (standing up and yelling at the refs; getting technical fouls; sometimes, even getting dismissed from the game.). But none of this matters; I only see the good in this man. Everybody (except the opposing teams coaches) loved this man. We(all his students) loved him because he loved us first, despite a little shame he sprinkled on our school's name, . He loved us when we were successful; he loved us when we were failing; he loved us when we were in trouble; and he loved us all, all the time. He put no conditions on the love he felt for us. There is nothing else but love to feel for this man, because our thoughts are all good thoughts about him. I have no judgmental thoughts about this great man. I know he's not perfect but because I accept him for all the amazing things he does, I also accept him for his flaws...I just get to love him.
If he were to tell me today that he never wanted any contact with me ever again, I would still feel love for him....because why not continue to feel a feeling that is so amazing over one that would make me feel such pain. My thought would be, "oh No! something is wrong in his life. I need to figure out a way to let him know I love him."
I suggest that you write down your thoughts about someone you love the most. Then write down your thoughts about someone you find difficult to love. Be aware of your feelings for each story. Write them down. Then decide which feels better and what is your reason for choosing to feel one way or the other.
Love is always an option, every time.
Of all the emotion we can choose, love always feels best, every time.
In any relationship, love always wins, every time......
If you want to learn how you can choose love every time, especially with your adult children you're not connecting with, I can help you. In my coaching program I use a unique technique to solve any problem. Email me to set up a free 50 minute consult via phone, to learn more about this amazing tool. Looking forward to hearing from you.