"I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt."
~ Maya Angelou
You can’t give something you don’t have! In order for any parent to be able to extend love unconditionally that parent must first love themselves. It is not possible for someone to love another fully without loving themselves. You can only really love your children if you love yourself.
At one of my recent talks on Unconditional Love, a mother told me that her young daughter had asked her “Mommy, who do you love the most – me or you?”. That mother had a difficult time answering her. She said “I love you to the moon and back, but if I didn’t love myself I wouldn’t be able to love you, so I love me just as much!”. That’s such a beautiful, but uncommon sentiment.
In Part Three we established that negative or limiting beliefs block love. In this section, I will show you how to find and fix negative beliefs using the Choose Again Six-Step Process (Diederik Wolsak). The method is applied to any upset however small, because these upsets reveal to us the feelings that we replay the most. These feelings are chosen by our beliefs. By following our familiar feelings we can retrieve early childhood memories in which we can discover the genesis of our beliefs and we can begin to transform them.
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:
This week, the Choose Again blog features a sample of one of the elements of the online course we are currently creating.
Our goal is to bring as many elements of our Retreat and Workshops into the course as possible, and those of you who have visited either will know how important meditation is to the work.
We are recording a series of guided meditations for the online course, and here is one for you to try now. Let us know what you think!
One of the things that I’ve become increasingly aware of since I began working with Choose Again is that there are coincidences and unusual synchronicities happening to me or around me, and other Choose Again staff and clients report the same phenomenon. In fact, Les Labadous, the Choose Again center in the South of France, has one such remarkable story attached to it.
In the summer of 2014, Martin Engi and his wife Christine Riedtmann, came to Vancouver from Switzerland for a visit. Martin, who is a now retired professor of geology, had lived in Vancouver for many years (first as a PhD student, finally as a staff scientist) at UBC between 1975 and 1984. I first met Martin when I came to Vancouver from Edinburgh to do graduate studies in Geological Sciences. Our families have been in close contact since that time, so it was natural that Martin would stay with us during his trip to Vancouver with Christine.
At that time Diederik was living in Costa Rica, making trips back to Vancouver periodically to do some counselling and giving talks to gain publicity for El Cielo. That summer was the first trip back for a particularly long stretch and so a staff meeting was arranged in order to
“I am the Decider!”
George W. Bush, 2006
For many of us decisions can be a source of great anxiety.
Most often than not, we are unsure of how to decide, and what makes a good decision.
But have you ever stopped to asked yourself - what does it mean to decide?
Most of us think of "decision" as the activity of choosing between things or situations in our lives.
I may decide to buy this or that brand of toothpaste.
I may decide to leave my job and my wife for a life of stamp collecting.
Or I may even decide to invade an oil-rich Middle Eastern country if I happen to be in that position.
But, I would like to propose a different view of decision making.
Instructions for "Set Your Compass to Love"
To consciously respond, you need to know the direction you want to go in, otherwise you will flounder from one day to the next, hoping things will work out. Know your purpose in life and you will know what direction to take when you have choices to make—you will know what direction to set your compass toward. Let that direction be the giving and receiving of Love.
The process of creating "Choose Again - Six Steps to Freedom" began six years ago when Diederik finally gave in to some very persistent persuasion and reluctantly started work on the book.
Diederik was so busy at the time between the centre in Costa Rica and running workshops internationally that we chose the route of a ghost writer to put the book together. It soon became clear that without an intricate knowledge of the work of Choose Again, and the personal stories of how Diederik came to develop the Six Steps, the book would not be a success.
We knew we had the makings of a wonderful book because it has all the elements of a 'best seller' - a great personal story, a sound practice that can change lives and work that challenged established norms. More importantly- we also knew this was an incredible opportunity to share the Six Steps to Freedom more broadly so it could transform more lives for the better.
The incredible Anne Andrew got involved at this point, and applied her knowledge and experience to the task.
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