How Feeling Unconditional Love Benefits You
If you’re like me, you hear the term “unconditional love” and your brain kind of freezes. Yeah, it sounds good but how does it really work? Isn’t it something that only saints or gurus are capable of? Even with our kids–for whom we’d die if necessary–do we honestly always love them unconditionally? When they skip school, leave a mess for us to clean up, punch their brother/sister…or worse? Unconditional love seems like a pretty “airy fairy” concept during times when we’re mostly trying not to explode in frustration.
But when I began studying with Master Coach Brooke Castillo, she taught me something about unconditional love that I’d never considered before. And it blew my mind, because suddenly not only did it seem attainable but something I definitely wanted to do! And the reason is this: Love feels good. “If given a choice most of us would choose to feel love toward someone over any other emotion. Yet most of us don’t consciously choose to feel love. Instead, we choose to feel disappointment, anger or frustration. We have expectations of people and when they don’t meet those expectations, we use that as an excuse to feel bad,” Brooke writes.
And that is so true, right? To feel love is such a great experience. I began thinking about this in regards to my ex. He’d come to mind and instead of dwelling on his shortcomings and annoying characteristics I’d just think about loving him as a human being, doing the best he can. He’s the father of my children, so I’m just going to love him in this moment. Since he doesn’t know whether I’m hating him or loving him, the decision of how to feel about him really does only affect me. So, when I practice this, I feel good and my day isn’t ruined.
This concept is simple–but not easy–because we’re so accustomed to feeling negative emotions about our exes. And especially if they do or say something that we don’t like. I think the other reason it’s hard to choose to love someone (like a kid who’s not meeting our expectations) is because fear so often tells us that we need to “make them behave” and “shape up”. However, fear typically drives us to take actions that don’t end well: arguments, outbursts, punishments etc. Love just allows for what is and lets you feel good and allows you to be present in your relationships in a calm, wise and centered place.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself the next time you find yourself at an emotional fork in the road:
- How do you want to feel about this person?
- How do you want to feel right now?
- Would it feel better to like this person or dislike this person?
See what happens. You might be surprised (and delighted) at what comes up.