This blog might have been called ‘Love’, but love has so many meanings and is such a vast subject that I wanted to include a word to indicate better the ideas I would like to share.
If we aspire to love unconditionally we need to be prepared to forgive.
What does it mean to forgive?
Does it mean that if X does something ‘bad’ to me then I being ‘good’ have to be willing to overlook and ‘forgive’ the ‘hurt’?
I would like to suggest that a better way to look at it is as follows.
X does not really have any power to ‘hurt’ me unless I cede that power. X believes that what he is doing is ‘good’ (in his own interest or that of his family, his group or his god). I may believe him to be totally mistaken in this belief but that is his affair.
Once I recognise that I have control over my feelings and reaction to whatever X has said or done then not only is it easy to forgive but we might say that there is really nothing to forgive.
OK, you are probably thinking of hard examples, your own or others’.
But let’s stick to an easy example for now.
How do we react if the cashier at the checkout is aggressive and rude? If instead of replying in kind we say something like ‘It seems like it’s been a rather hard day’ then it’s likely the tension will disappear and we will have been a blessing to the harried cashier. At the very least we have protected ourself from any negative effect in the encounter.
Such a mild and solicitous response is possible even to the introverts among us, but I am reminded of a story Zig Ziglar told in a seminar about his encounter with the belligerent young man on the check in desk at the airport. In seconds through his positive and enthusiastic attitude Zig succeeded in getting the young man into a state of joy and gratitude for his life and his job.