In order to learn to love unconditionally, you first need to discover the barriers that you have to giving love, and the barriers that your children or partners have to receiving it. The negative beliefs that you carry, often subconsciously, prevent you from having the loving relationships you want to have. I’ll show you how negative beliefs get started and strengthened, and how they block love.
In last week’s blog, I suggested that you take a quick quiz to determine where you are on the loving / fearful parenting spectrum. You may have been surprised to learn that fear plays a role in your parenting style. This week’s blog will explore the importance of learning to love unconditionally. I was able to learn so you can too!
“Hey, wait a minute,” you may be thinking “Of course I love my children unconditionally!”
I know I thought that – that is until my daughter went off the rails as a teenager in a dramatic way. The way back for our family was by learning to love unconditionally. We learned it the hard way and I don’t want that to happen to you.
We discovered that although we thought we were a loving caring family, and certainly anyone who knew us would have agreed, our parenting was largely fearful making unconditional love virtually impossible. We had worries about our children’s futures, and expectations of what that should look like for each of them. We felt we needed to shape them into fine humans rather than simply to accept them as they are. The good news for us was that it was possible with a few simple techniques, to learn to love without fear and to become more effective parents as a result.
You can do a quick assessment of how much fear versus love there is in your own parenting style by taking the quiz below:
I know firsthand the heartache that comes with having a teenager who struggles with eating disorders and other self-harming behaviour. Helplessness combines with guilt and even shame. I was fortunate to discover how to be happy despite our circumstances, and learned that not only could I be happy, but by being happy I was helping my child. That’s why I must debunk the myth that we can only be as happy as our least happy child. This unfortunate concept condemns parents of unhappy children to life sentences of misery. It doesn’t have to be this way and what’s more, the unhappiness parents suffer contributes to the ongoing misery of their children...
Here are a few reasons why being a happy parent actually helps a child:
As many of you know, if you have been to El Cielo or a Choose Again workshop, each day ends with gratitude. Around the dining table, everyone shares the things that they are grateful for or the people they are grateful to from the day - ending it on a high note. It feels terrific!
Studies by psychologists and psychiatrists have concluded that grateful people
I have been at El Cielo eight times – not quite the record but close. There are a number of reasons for all those trips (no pun intended), but the main one is very simple – it’s my happy place! Now, if I’ve learned anything from Choose Again and at El Cielo, there is no such thing as a happy place – only a happy heart and that heart can be happy anywhere. That’s true, but like a touchstone, I keep coming back for more of the good feelings I get when I am there.
At El Cielo, the staff are trained to do two things:
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