Sometimes client issues come in phases. Suddenly everyone will be dealing with relationship stuff. Or money issues. Lately several clients, and friends too, have been talking about struggling to stay in a place of unconditional love. It's getting harder and harder to respond to their current life challenges from a heartfelt place of love and compassion. Unconditional love is a high spiritual virtue and I commend anyone who strives to achieve it. But on a practical level, does it really work in day-to-day life? Is love always the answer in our modern world? I have found in my clients (and in myself) four pitfalls to using unconditional love as your default spiritual mode in everyday life. The Doormat Trap The doormat trap goes like this: Someone mistreats you, someone else, or even themselves, and you tell yourself that you must respond with unconditional love, which usually means you smile and say nothing. Over and over again. This gives the person positive reinforcement for an undesirable behavior, which they are then likely to continue enacting, and you become an enabler, adding another bar to their prison. Ask yourself: Am I taking the easy way out, posing as a people-pleaser in order to avoid conflict? Am I using unconditional love as an excuse because I am afraid of rocking the boat?
The Self-Sacrifice Trap This is actually a side-effect of the doormat trap. It goes like this: When you become a doormat and do not express yourself, look out for yourself, or stand up for yourself, there is a part of you that notices this. Every single time. That part usually says something like: What about me? Don't I count? Don't I matter? What am I, chopped liver? (Ok, maybe not that last one, especially for vegetarians, but you get the idea.) This can only go on for so long until a) you blow your top; b) your suppressed feelings leak out slowly in dysfunctional ways; or c) you keep internalizing everything and you get sick. Ask yourself: Do any of these apply to me? The Unconsciousness Trap This is when the spiritual mandate of unconditional love becomes a habitual response. By this point you are so practiced at it that you no longer even ask yourself: How can I respond to this situation with unconditional love? Instead, it is your automatic reaction. It has become a pattern, albeit a "positive" pattern, but a pattern nonetheless. Patterns, by definition, operate on their own without much awareness or conscious participation on our part. That means we are going unconscious. This is not the direction we want to go in. Automatic reactions are toxic, no matter how benevolent they are. The expansion of consciousness, mindfully choosing our responses with full awareness, has more spiritual clout. Ask yourself: To what extent am I operating on auto-pilot? In what situations? What percentage of the time? The Self-Limiting Trap Finally, the unconditional love mandate can limit our freedom by robbing us of the ability to respond in a multitude of ways to the complexities of life. Think of Rosa Parks, that day in 1955, when she boarded the bus and the white driver told her to sit in the back because of her skin color. What if Rosa had said to herself: I must respond with unconditional love for this driver. After all, he's just doing his job. I must have compassion and respond with kindness to him. I'll just do what he's asking. The entire Civil Rights Movement may never have happened. Ask yourself: Have I become robotic? To what extent do I respond to life in varied, creative ways? Life calls forth from us a variety of different responses to various situations. We must be free enough inside ourselves to have easy access to a vast repertoire of behaviors. That sense of freedom and spaciousness inside allows us easy access to intuitive insights and spiritual guidance. That inner sense of expansiveness allows spirit to move us to respond creatively in the best possible ways, moment to moment, for the Highest Good of All. I would say that is what is meant by truly coming from a place of unconditional love.
Debra's Phone Sessions Do you want help advancing your spiritual evolution? If you are on a path of conscious improvement but have encountered an obstacle that's difficult to overcome, I can help you transform and break free quickly and easily, so you can move forward with clarity and consciousness. And I do this in record time--usually one phone session. In the words of a client, "It's like coaching on steroids with an intuitive healer." And I guarantee my work. If you are not satisfied at the end of the session you don't have to pay me.
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