Thursday, March 3, 2016

Loving Our Children Unconditionally

There is a kind of love that is more damaging than hate, precisely because it really IS love.
It is confused love.
Conditional love.

It is the kind of love that most of us experienced as children, and that many of us, well meaning parents, are passing on to our own children.
As adult children, we must learn to recognize this insidious love if we are to heal from the damage it causes, and if we want to give our children something different.

Our parents are our first experience of God.
Being loved conditionally, teaches that that God's love is conditional.
This lesson damages our spirituality and our connection to our immortal soul.
Being loved conditionally is being taught that love hurts.
That God, (whatever our limited experience of God) hurts us and can not be trusted.
It is a message of disconnection.

Disconnection from our true self, from our true worth, is the underlying pain of all addiction...

Being loved and accepted conditionally by a parent, can mean a lifetime disability of shame and pain.
It is being given a deep message, often on a subconscious level that something is wrong with me.  I am inadequate. I am not good enough, and I never will be.

Walking through life believing these lies about oneself can be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Rejecting an inheritance of conditional love and embracing oneself fully, is one of the harder tasks in healing. It often causes an inevitable process of loss and grief.

Rejecting conditional love, often means distancing from the giver, and when the giver is a parent it can cause untold grief on both sides.

For some of us, setting boundaries on the only love we ever receive from a parent, can be harder than letting go of the ongoing shame, and self blame, which accompanies it.
Love, enmeshed with shame and blame, is at least familiar and keeps us connected to our parents.

Many of us hover our entire lives in painful limbo, swinging back and forth between accepting conditional, confused love because we feel like we can not survive without it, and then distancing in order to protect ourselves, when it  hurts too much.

A distanced child leaves a parent with two options.

The first option is to heap further resentment on the child for rejecting their limited love.
It is the only kind they know how to offer, and they know they really DO love their child.
What is wrong with a child who rejects my love?!

The other option is taking a hard, honest look at what we are really offering our children.

Those who love with strings attached are not very good at introspection.
For some parents, it is impossible to even understand what is being asked of them.

Parents who love conditionally are good at shaming and blaming.
They are good at feeling like a victim of their children's choices, good or bad.
They are good at depending on their children for their happiness and well-being.
They believe that their children owe them big time.
They are enmeshed, and in pain.
They suffer, and their children suffer.

This is the reality in so many families, even those where there is no blatant abuse.

Our mission as parents is to reveal God's love and truth to our children.  As parents, we have so much power to build and destroy.

Learning to love unconditionally begins with ourselves.
True love doesn't hurt. 
 True love embraces, and celebrates!
When we are truly loving another human being, we let them discover and be who they really are. We want their happiness and success just as much as they do.
We set them free.

We realize that although we have the honor of being parents, and we raise our children with values and limits, they are separate from who we are.
We don't pretend to know ultimately what our children need and what is best for them. We make the best decisions we can with the tools we have right now.

And we pray.

 I pray every day that God grant me the necessary connection, wisdom and strength to love and accept myself, my family, and every person who crosses my path, the way God loves and accepts us all,
fully and unconditionally.

I pray that I be a messenger of God's truth and love, and my family feel my love and acceptance, and even more importantly, that they feel God's love and acceptance every day.

To love unconditionally we draw from the eternal wellspring of unconditional love and acceptance that is God.
 We were created as limited human beings, just as our children were, with all of our strengths and challenges.

Our existence in this world is a mix of physical and spiritual; at times a crazy making mix.

To complicate matters, we were created with free will.

God expects us to embrace our two opposing selves and do our very best...
Yet, sometimes we all use our free will to make choices that are harmful, painful, and destructive.

Unconditional love does not mean loving and accepting destructive choices.

Unconditional love means accepting the whole human being, created in the image of God, who makes both good and bad choices.  
It means giving every person unlimited chances to grow and make amends, to themselves and others.

Most importantly, it means never, ever, ever, giving up on ourselves or our children.

1 comment:

  1. wow! look how you use your experiences to grow closer to H' not only that, you share your knowledge with others for them to gain. mmamele