Oh, to be loved the way Katy Perry sings about it in her hit song, “Unconditionally”!
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free…
I will love you unconditionallySo open up your heart and just let it begin.”
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” ~Fred (aka “Mister”) Rogers
THOSE THREE SENTENCES from Mister Rogers have a lot to teach us. It’s how we would like to be loved, as well as how we can approach loving others. It’s unconditional love, with the understanding that we’re not going to be perfect at it.
Unconditional love is a gift we are blessed both to have & to give. It’s easier to “Open up your heart and let it begin”–without fear–when we remember we won’t be perfect at it.
When we have pop icons as diverse as Katy Perry and Mister Rogers giving us much the same message, we probably ought to pay attention.
It may sound crazy, but i try to bring unconditional love to my work.
By this I mean that I try to look at every person through the lens of love. At work, that translates to trying to bring out the best in everyone and everything.
Really, really hard to do.
But even trying is a game-changer. When I sincerely want the best out of every encounter and every person, I listen better. My own agenda doesn’t block my ears or warp my understanding (the way it had my whole life).
Once I started on this path, I quickly realized that most people are trying to accomplish something worthy, even if that might be at odds with what I personally want.Praying for and aiming for the best outcome is an act of love. #love #prayer #dogood Click To Tweet
It’s not always unselfish or truly unconditional, but framing my days with love makes work much better for my colleagues and me. My biggest challenge with this approach is my tendency to expect things back.
We want people to understand us, appreciate us, love us back, or respond the way we think they should. This is true whether it’s the deep love we have for family, friends, and partners, or the principle of love I aim for with coworkers.
It’s not easy to love people we don’t like and especially who don’t give back to us. Yet it enriches both us and them when we do. All it really takes to love unconditionally is the desire to do so and the willingness to practice until we get better at it.
TRY THIS. You’ll need 5-6 index cards or you can use the Build Happiness Today UnBlocks™ if you have them.
Label one card with the name of someone you struggle to love. It can be a coworker, a boss, or someone who reports to you–or someone from another area of your life, such as a friend or family member. Set it aside.
Now use one or two cards to write everything you like, respect, or appreciate about that person. If you can’t think of anything, ask yourself what other people appreciate. Just write on one side of each card.
Use your remaining cards to write what this person struggles with. What haunts this person? What challenges does he or she wrestle with? What is hurting him or her?
Imagine walking in this person’s shoes. Picture him or her at home, work, in the car, and so forth—try to see what he or she goes through. Again, write on only one side of each card.
Flip all the cards over but the one with the person’s name. On this side, on all the cards, write: Bless [name of person].
Put the card with the name of the person you struggle to love in the middle and make a circle around it with the other cards. Place the side with “Bless [name of person]” facing up.
As you place each card in the circle, pray for that person to be blessed with strength, courage, health, wisdom, freedom from emotional pain, prosperity. Bless them with anything you can think of that is positive and kind.
Pray that you accept and love them as they are. Pray that you do what you can to bring out the best in them in thought, word, and deed.
Take five or more deep breaths as you pray that a circle of light and love lifts them up and sustains them. Picture the card turning into the real person, and the circle turning into real light.
As you inhale, picture the person filling with peace. As you exhale, picture him or her releasing the struggles. Imagine the person glowing with genuine happiness.
The next time you interact with this person, re-envision this exercise, image, and prayers.
You can do this exercise for other people, or you can keep your focus on this one person as a daily practice for as long as you need.A prayer list is much healthier for everyone than an “enemies list.” #prayer #love #dogood Click To Tweet
Doing this exercise may feel a bit “woo-woo” for some of you. But it’s effective–regardless of your belief systems.
Your job, your ability to work well and play with others, and your relationships will improve as a result.
Our quest is to reach the combined goals of Katy Perry and Mr. Rogers: To love unconditionally with warmth and respect, without fear or expectations.
It’s that expectation that makes us unhappy, while giving blessings without expectations makes us happy. It feels good. So take all the conditions off your love for them, and begin to take off the conditions you have for loving yourself.
~Walk away from stress and toward a happier life. Sign up today for the weekly newsletter and begin your journey with practical mindfulness, emotional health, and spiritual wellness.
Marcy McDonald is the creator of the Happiness Builder Program, more than 70 exercises to help you change your perspective so you can change your life.
~Today’s content was adapted from Build Happiness: Block-Based Exercises to Change Your Perspective and Change Your Life.