Love and do what you will. – St Augustine
Love and do what you will may be the best advice that one can recieve. Too often we can think of millions of reason why we should not show someone in our life love and kindness.
We tell ourselves that that person has not completed a certain task or they have been ugly to us in some way and so they are undeserving of love and acceptance. We make up the excuse that -they are not showing us love so how can we show compassion.
I recently led a group where a woman came to me afterwards and told me that she had been going to marriage counseling for the past year and a half. She was struggling, like many people, on whether or not she should leave her marriage. She and her partner had hit a rough spot and she had been trying everything to solve to issues that kept coming up in her marriage.
After listening to the woman’s story I asked her what would happen if she began showing love to her husband the way she expressed wanting to be loved- love without conditions. What if you loved him warts and all. What would happen if you accepted him just as he is and not how you think he should be? What would happen if you loved your husband and accepted him fully?
She said love and acceptance would be an entirely new approach that she had not tried yet.
This lovely woman is not alone. Most couples come to therapy saying they have tried everything and still have had not success in solving their marital difficulties. When asked if they have tried loving and accepting their partner, they almost always say that they have not tried this approach.
What would happen if you began accepting your partner as the whole package, warts and all. We all want our partner to see past our imperfections, to see the good that lies beneath the seemingly imperfect surface.
We want to be admired and noticed for our “being-ness”. We don’t want to have to have to perform a task just to be noticed. Sure its nice when someone sees that we look radiant but we want them to still accept us even if we aren’t at our best, even when we don’t feel like shining.
Acceptance is the biggest motivator for change. Most of us have a good idea where we need some polishing. Maybe we are a bit lazy when it comes to the laundry, or we can’t seem to make it to the gym anymore. We don’t need someone pointing these things out all the time in order for us to make the change.
In fact, when someone is monitoring our behavior and telling us we are doing something wrong we are less likely to want to change that characteristic. We often times will dig our heels in the sand and cut off our nose to spite our face before we will give into them.
Think about it and how it relates to you- When are you more likely to want begin working on yourself 1) when someone is badgering you about the change or 2) when they accept you for who you are without conditions? Most people would say they are more likely to change when someone accepts them.
When we fully accept someone it creates a space for them to begin change. That doesn’t mean accepting them so that they will change. It means accepting them fully regardless if they change.
My wish for you is that you can love everyone warts and all. This is not for their sake but rather for your own well-being, your own peace of mind and your own happiness.