Here is what is true.
I have had to work hard to make the love I offer unconditional. I used to manipulate, degrade, withhold. I did everything to keep love as my power play. If someone did something I did not like, I loved them differently. It was calculated. It took up my time and energy. It was how I lived my life and affected every aspect of it, including how I loved myself. If I gained a pound, I withheld food. If I embarrassed myself, I would roll through the ugliest self talk in existence. This was my life. Any partner I had felt my wrath, my dislike for certain behaviors. What a twisted, warped way to think of love. What a disaster. What a disservice.
I was keeping myself from living and truly being loved.
I had to make a conscious decision to make love unconditional. It started with me, because if I treated the symptom of the problem and not the root, the change wasn't authentic, it did not last and I fell into old patterns once again. I would feel "free" for a month...six months...but I would always fall back into the unbearable feeling because I had not addressed the source of my discontentment. I had to go all in and it was scary and I faced the parts of myself that I hide. That I was ashamed of.
I am still learning. With my children, when they do something I don't like, am I loving them differently? Am I being mean or withholding affection? This challenges their sense of humanness. A manipulation tactic that makes someone want to feel human again in your eyes. Establishing that their sense of self comes from YOU. A dangerous beginning to a life long struggle.
And this becomes my mantra because anything less is not love.
I have changed my entire life, I have rerouted brain waves and changed behavior. I am still and always in process. I am the Phoenix, reborn. I am surrounded in unconditional love because that is what I choose to offer myself. You can too. We must stop living out of our dysfunction, our parent's dysfunction, and claim what is truly ours. The right to be happy and loved.
There is nothing more important than choosing to shift your focus. It is a simple idea "Instead of looking down....look up." But there are many deep complexities to the process. If all you have ever been told is that there is a floor not a ceiling, it's hard to look up. If you only ever looked up as a kid and you got disciplined for it until you looked down. It is hard to shift focus. Maybe someone's words were placed on your neck like a weight, forcing you to look down, maybe your own words. The important thing to know though, is that no matter how difficult, the choice still remains. You may have to stretch a few muscles you haven't used in a while, you may have to abandon a few ideas that you have had about yourself "Oh, I'm just a look down kind of person." And write a new story. "Oh, well, I've only ever looked down, but I am changing that today." Focusing on your flaws is harming and hindering you. Your strengths are real, they are there as well. Seek them and end the mindless distraction that is keeping you miserable. It is time to look up.
Go get your life. For yourself, for your family, for your future, for your past. Change your mind. Shift from manipulation to love, take your power back from those who stole it from you. It is time to heal. It is time to truly LIVE.