We’re all romanced by the idea of unconditional love. Maybe it’s time to reconsider your understanding of it.
I remember in my teens (a long, long time ago), I was disillusioned that no one accepted me unconditionally – I wanted them to “Take me as I am, even when I misbehaved.” I was too immature to get that my parents loved me no matter what – even when they got mad at my actions.
The reality is “unconditional” love doesn’t mean we won’t ever get upset with those we love. Rather, it’s highly likely we will have intense moments of disagreement and anger (such is life).
However, to love someone enough that we are willing to soften our egos, pause, listen, share and forgive is the greatest love of all.
It gets complicated, though, when you have memories of trauma in your past.
The way that emotional memory works is when you’re having a really intense feeling (whether it’s negative or positive), it sticks with you until there’s some way that you can dissolve it.
Negative experiences are remembered more significantly, because it’s part of our caveman brain to try and keep us safe, so we don’t do something dangerous.
When it comes to safety, the primitive part of the brain doesn’t discern between emotional and physical safety. So when you feel emotionally unsafe, your body responds as if you’re in physical threat of dying or even that you’re going to be annihilated. Yikes!
That’s the fear that gets neurologically triggered when you get scared that you made a mistake or someone hurt your feelings. As we know, most of the time we’re not being physically threatened with death. But that’s the body’s automatic emotional reaction and the memories of it can get lodged in muscle memory.
When your body is reacting in this way, it’s really hard to give unconditional love to the people in your life.
Here’s a few things you can do when you’re feeling hurt and pain that‘s blinding you to your love for another:
- Consciously slow your breathing
- Sense your body and fully feel the emotion with abandon
- Freely pour your feelings onto the paper through spontaneous writing
- Keep writing until you empty them from your body
- Notice the return of an inner spaciousness and embrace it
- Consider what it would feel like to forgive yourself and the other
- If and when you’re ready, embrace the other with unconditional love
- Remember we all are human and imperfect
- Forgiveness is the new feeling that arrives when we courageously process our uncomfortable feelings
My decades of processing trauma is like falling in love with life again and again and again… that is unconditional love.
For more than 40 years, Award Winning and Best-Selling Author & Psychotherapist Dr. Deb Sandella has helped thousands heal trauma, move through grief and gain access to more laughter, greater financial success, and deeper, more loving relationships. This former university professor developed the RIM® (Regenerating Images in Memory) Method that alleviates suffering and supports you to claim the happier, healthier life you deserve. RIM® is used by therapists, coaches, organizational consultants and school social workers globally and has helped countless individuals transform past trauma for a more fulfilled life. She frequently brings her teachings to Jack Canfield’s events.
To learn about having a personal healing session or becoming a Certified RIM Facilitator visit the RIMinstitute.com