|Photo Credit: Music and Lyrics Blog|
Welcome back to The Unconditional Love Challenge. For those of you just joining me here is a little background on what this challenge is all about: Inspired by Dr. Laura at Aha Parenting, I have created The Unconditional Love Challenge. This is a 10 part challenge based on Dr. Laura's series on Ten Steps to Unconditional Love. I will be posting challenges and results on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month giving you two weeks to tackle each step. You can work as quickly or as slowly as needed.
Got it? Good!
How did last week's challenge go? In case you forgot, I had you take a hard look at your childhood and the way you were parented. I then asked you to forgive your parents for being human.
I was and still am extremely fortunate to have had really, truly outstanding parents. I actually wrote an entire post about how I was parented. Seriously, my parents did so much right. I was not the easiest child to parent. I'm probably still not. But my parents had grace, warmth, love, and a genuine desire to connect with me and develop a relationship based on trust and a deep understanding of each other. I would be lost without them.
There really is not much for me to forgive. I think the only shortcoming they had as parents was that they never, ever disagreed or argued in front of me. I literally saw them fight once. It was huge. It was over wallpaper. It stuck in my memory. It wasn't a fair fight. There was name calling and tears. It made no sense to my 9 year old self. But again, it stuck.
I don't know how to argue with my husband. My parents took so much care in protecting me from the ugly of life that I sort of lost out on the whole “how to effectively disagree” life lesson. I respectfully disagree and debate with everyone except my husband. So I guess if there was something to forgive my parents for, it would be sheltering me from disagreements and tough conversations that happen between adults. Although I sometimes feel guilty about arguing with Rasta Daddy in front of Tiny, having her as a witness actually forces me to fight fair and take an argument down a notch and have a respectful disagreement.
So what did all of you have to forgive your parents for, if you don't mind sharing publically?
On to Challenge # 5 – Heal Your Heart. Heal Your Life.
As always, you can read Dr. Laura's original post here.
This is going to be a pretty tough challenge for some of you. You see, forgiveness of oneself and others is a tough pill to swallow. More often than not, people just cannot forgive and move on.
From Dr. Laura: “The reason we can't forgive is that we need our rage. It's a defense against the agony of feeling unloved.”
Having a hard time forgiving your parents for how they raised you? That's your wall staying put so you can't get more wounded? Unable to let a friend's betrayal go? That is because you do not want to open yourself up to more pain. Unable to forgive yourself for your shortcomings? That is because you do not want to open yourself to more failure. Continue living in bitterness and regret and you don't have to face the reality.
This is no way to live life nor is it a healthy model for your children. If you can heal your heart, you can heal your life and be a much more effective, happy parent.
Here is your challenge for the next two weeks. Pick two specific events in your life that you are holding negative energy towards. Focus on one each week. For each, try to do a version of the following:
· Go someplace that brings you peace and solitude. Give yourself plenty of time to begin to work through all of the gunk blocking your ability to forgive and release.
· Light a candle, light some incense, light essential oils, play some of your favorite, relaxing music and just sit. Sit and let your mind just drift to where it wants to go.
· After your mind has relaxed, give yourself permission to call forth the memory of an unpleasant time – whatever has been clogging you up. Try not to FEEL at this point. Simply recall the event, the words, the sights, the smells, and the images. Focus from a third party perspective for a few moments.
· After the memory is a clear picture in your mind's eye, slowly allow yourself to become a part of that memory. Feel the emotions of the event. Feel the energy and the negativity from your head to your toes. Feel it move through you.
· Breath in. Breath out. With each breath, move the negative energy through your body and out. Accept the pain that is caused you, release blame, and give yourself permission to live life by letting go of past gunk.
· If the negative associations continue to bog you down emotionally and mentally, start writing down your thoughts. Draw, paint, create the emotions you are feeling. Give yourself the time and space in which you can nurture healing.
· Continue doing these exercises until you can actually feel the forgiveness in your heart.
Good luck! See you back here in two weeks when we will all have let a few things go.