Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.
As my mentor, Lynn, often likes to remind me, the moment I set an intention towards achieving something, what comes up first are all the obstacles in between me and the full manifestation of that intention.
Speaking of which, one ongoing intention I’ve been working towards for the last few years is learning to love unconditionally – myself and others.
So far, I am finding this very, very difficult.
There are several challenges (and here, I also have to mention that these challenges are just the ones I know of thus far!):
a) Often I don’t know I have certain conditions in place. So I go to show my love, and instead resentment, jealousy, anger, depression, anxiety, uncertainty, or other issues arise.
b) Some people are just incredibly difficult to love – period. So are some non-people (for example, certain scary insects spring to mind). So I have to work my way all the way back from “hate/fear” towards love….a long and arduous journey.
c) I am increasingly noticing that when I have conditions towards loving others, I also impose those same conditions upon myself. In other words, if I don’t act just so, look just so, I will reject any love that comes my way – and also my own efforts to love myself.
In another related quote I found during my research, Fred Rogers gives us a powerful incentive to endure the struggle towards unconditional love:
Knowing we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.
This very much resonates with my own aspiration to become the best version of me I possibly can be – and yet again, it is proving to be a lofty intention indeed.
What helps a lot – a very great deal – is knowing that the presence of the struggle is normal, is to be expected, is actually a sign of progress in the works.
In the same way that I did not begin to make real progress towards my eating disorder recovery goals until I realized it was supposed to be hard – a struggle – until it got easier, now I need that same reassurance in my quest towards a life lived with unconditional love.
I need mentors who will remind me that struggle is part of the process.
I need mentors who lead me through their own example, who are willing to work out (right in front of us all!) their own issues with anger, fear, judgment, hate, and then emerge the healthier for their struggles.
These mentoring examples are what inspire me to keep striving, to keep struggling, even when I think it is so hopeless….even when I worry I am just not capable of true unconditional love.
In the midst of these worries, I think to myself, “Mr. Rogers said to love is also to struggle – and if he could do it, surely I can too!”
And this gives me the energy to keep struggling on….towards a big intention worth every bit of the struggle it takes.
Today’s Takeaway: As you strive towards becoming a more loving human being, who mentors you? Who inspires you when you are having a day full of anger or resentment or hopelessness at all the hate in the world? What words do you cling to that keep you moving forward, giving your effort towards a life with more love for yourself and everyone? I would love to hear more about your “love mentors!!”