She was not being loving to me. She must not value me. I must not be important in her life. I thought I was. Now, I am disappointed and hurt. She should be loving! Why isn’t she being loving to me!, my heart demanded. We have known each other for many years! She claims to have Faith and goes to Church!
Yes, I joined the Love Police Force and emotionally arrested my friend for not being loving to me. The consequences of this arrest are grave, for they planted resentment and pain in my heart. My heart then became shackled , squeezing the love right out of me. It is not good to be on the Love Police Force, we shackle ourselves.
I am sure you can see the spiral of negativity that occurred inside of me from one transaction with her that caused me to take it personally and make all sorts of assumptions. As Don Miguel Ruiz points out in The Four Agreements, this is poison to ourselves. Running around keeping track of who is not being loving, is Not loving. We are all flawed. We all make mistakes. We all need grace extended to us, and we need to extend grace to others.
In my reflection about love, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible, often used at weddings, that describes what love looks like. Here it is, to be read very slowly:
Love is Patient.
Love is Kind.
It does Not Envy.
It does Not Boast.
It is Not Proud.
It does not Dishonor Others.
It is Not Self-Seeking.
It is Not easily Angered.
It keeps No Record of Wrongs.
Love does Not Delight in Evil, but Rejoices with the Truth.
It always Protects, always Trusts, always Hopes, always Perseveres.
Love Never Fails.
Wow! Love is Incredible! I have read these words many times, but their profoundness slapped me in the face with the perfect amount of sting to wake me up out of my self-righteous, self-consumed stupor. Had I offered patience and kindness, was not self-seeking and not easily angered, I would have a very different story to retell here. Love would not have failed me.
You may ask, but what if the person I am being loving to remains mean to me? Love will not fail you because you will never injure yourself, your heart, and your well-being, with love. Remember, love keeps no record of wrongs, so you let it go and the other person involved decides whether they harbor pain. You are released from their action or reaction or inaction. You remain in love, they do whatever they decide. Know this though: it is very hard to resist love. Love is a great tactic to win any situation.
Take a moment to reflect on any situations in your own life. Maybe you thought you were being loving. Reread the words above and I challenge you to join me in reciting this transformative definition of love each day for a month. Placing those thoughts in the forefront of our minds, makes them more active. Lets practice Love together.
What about TOUGH LOVE?
The word “tough” seems to fly in the face of the definition above. We call it tough love because it is “tough” for us to do. Tough love means we hold that whole definition of Love in our hearts as we choose actions that are for the highest good of everyone involved. Sometimes tough love means saying “no” to the habitual friend or family member we have allowed to take advantage of us in countless ways, countless times. Unfortunately, when we have allowed someone to take advantage of us, most likely we have already started to harbor resentment and keep a record of their wrongs. We have lost patience. To then switch our internal being to Love as we create a boundary becomes increasingly difficult. The love in our hearts is hard to find as a result of our own inability to have instituted tough love sooner.
The number 1 way to be able to practice Tough Love is to take that definition of Love up there and apply to ourselves. We must Love ourselves first. We must be patient with ourselves first. We must be kind to ourselves first. Tough love is hard because you have not extended that love to yourself first. We can do it! If you find this concept difficult, call up some friends to keep you accountable or start talking to a Mentor asap! Any change takes loads of practice. Your life can change drastically for the better darn quick!
Happy Loving Everyone!
Sunshine & Smiles,