Unconditional love

Posted by Samantha on February 14, 2011 in Thought for the day |

The only love worthy of a name is unconditional.

John Powell, British composer (b.1963)

Today I can tell you that too often in the past I placed conditions on the love and approval I gave my children.

I fell into that classic parental trap: I would only behave lovingly towards my children when I was pleased with them.

It took me a while to realise this.  Because like all parents, when I looked inside in quiet moments (like when they were asleep!) I knew just how much I loved these little people.  Deep down I knew that my love for my children was completely and utterly unconditional.  There is NOTHING they can do that will stop me loving them.

But it was as though I would forget that reality multiple times a day.

When I thought of how I sometimes behaved towards my children: when they were being boisterous or not cooperating or making a mess or squabbling or refusing to eat or refusing to sleep or hurting one another or not listening to me or dawdling beyond reason or throwing a tantrum or knocking things over or disturbing my sleep… ..I cringed.  And I realised that something needed to change.

Today thankfully I know that because I am human, my ability to love my children unconditionally falls short of my desire to love them unconditionally.  Having an awareness of this is not a particularly comfortable place to be at first.

But gradually my awareness of this impossible task of parenting has made it possible for me to practice loving them unconditionally as much as I humanly can.

Knowing it is not possible for me to love them unconditionally ALL OF THE TIME actually helps me to do it MOST OF THE TIME.  Now that I don’t need to use huge amounts of energy keeping this uncomfortable fact from my consciousness I have more energy to give to them, more patience to deal with them.

Today is the day of love.  We usually think of our romantic partners on St Valentine’s Day.  This love is the Latin amor.

Today I want to think of the other Latin word for love – agape – instead.

Because this is the love that conquers all.  This is the love we have for our children.

And just for today, I want to remember that ALL day.

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