One of my recent insights came as a bit of a shock: I still want people to change so that I can find it easier to like and love them.
If my children were more considerate and sensitive, loving them wouldn’t be a problem. Surely I can’t be expected to love them if they continue to scream, or deliberately do something they know is unfair, or not agree to do what I request?
It seems easier to love people when they are cooperative and mutually considerate. But is conditional love really what we want to experience and to demonstrate?
How often do we give the message, to ourselves and others, that we will be happy and content with a certain behaviour or event and not with another type of behaviour or outcome? We are unjust when we demand that others conform to our wishes or else we will be unhappy. We are also not much fun to be around unless everything is going the way we want it to! When we see this in children we call them “spoiled” and there is something “spoiled” in us when we behave in the same way.
I truly recognise, and not just intellectually, how much a gift people are when they don’t meet my expectations. I can be lazy with my inner focus when the world seems to be going OK but I need to really wake up when something I don’t like is happening. And I want to wake up!
When I’m annoyed I have to be acutely aware of my inner choices before I move into action. How would I know what to do or say when I have already decided to be a victim? I first need a moment to know and experience that I love everyone, including myself before I open my mouth. I need to remember that no matter how it seems I, and no one else, am responsible for how I feel.
People who don’t conform to our expectations are a gift even if they know our expectations and still don’t comply with them! They are saying, although usually without being aware of it: “I am not going to conform with what you want so that you can get away with being lazy with you inner choices and decide only to love me because of how I behave.”
Everyone wants to be loved for who they are and not for what they do that conforms to what we ask. Everyone desires to know that their behaviour doesn’t take away from the love that they are. When people sense that they are loved unconditionally they don’t have to defend themselves and so the opportunity for a different relationship in terms of behaviour may naturally happen. And we get to experience unconditional love by demonstrating it!