My kids and I love watching good movies and listening to good music – so by natural extension, randomly dropping one-liners is kind of our thing. For instance, instead of simply announcing ‘Dinner’s ready…’, I’ll say ‘Oh, oh, oh, sweet child o’ mine…dinner’s ready’.
Mega Mind is one of our favourites, and the line ‘…and I love you, random citizen’ speaks to so much more than just a giggle from movie night…it epitomizes my mindset and is a major contributing factor to my ‘sunshine and rainbows’ world.
While my kids were growing up, my parenting style was based largely upon my understanding of unconditional love. And truthfully, having this core belief as the lodestone of my parental compass is a huge part of why they survived teenage hood 😉
I learned very early on that it was necessary to have a strong moral compass to keep me on the straight and narrow, in life, but also in parenting.
As a leader – which as parents we are – I strived to do my best to lead by example. Mostly because it’s the right thing to do, but also because everybody knows people won’t do what you say, they’ll do what you do.
Beginning with the end in mind I knew that unconditional love was the key. Having a long-term vision to foster independence and empathy in my kids helped me see past whatever the current struggle was. Keeping things in perspective allowed me to ‘pick my battles’ as they say…
By no means have I been awarded a medal as the Worlds’ Best Mom [though I am pretty sure it’s in the mail], however, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way that helped keep me focused.
Well rounded, magnetic humans was the end-goal, so it was equally important that they become self-directed thinkers. Deep down I knew it would click for them. Eventually.
Some of the lessons included:
Show them how to always give their best and highest effort by always giving my best and highest effort.
Redirect your best self into a positive experience-based teacher – you’ll be setting a contagious example at the same time.
Rather than lecture about priorities and responsibilities, instil within them morals and values.
Find the good in everything.
We all live in the house, therefore, it’s everyone’s privilege to pitch in around the house.
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Avoid drama by not expending negative energy into being all pissed off about this, that, or the other thing. *”Life is too shorts.” RIP Jaydon Summerfeldt*
Get done what needs to be done, calmly, and from a place of love. This will energize you, rather than drain you while having so many things on your to-do list.
Don’t cut them slack only to hold it over their heads or use it as leverage.
Don’t keep tabs or tally who owes who what because you did some thing on their behalf.
Stick to it – it’s 100% worth it!!
Acceptable: I would like, or may I please have. Not Acceptable: I want.
Above all else, Love unconditionally. Even when you don’t want to or think you can’t.
It is good to be me, and I am very blessed and highly favoured because I have decided to make the best of everything and because I choose to feel the best in everyone.
During a recent performance review at work, my boss was explaining a 5-point self-assessment and made it very clear that he NEVER awards feedback in the Always column. As we approached the part about my attitude, he lifted his head said:
‘I know I literally just said I don’t hand out ‘Always’ ratings…however upon reviewing the attitude and presence you consistently bring to the office, anything less would have been an injustice to you. Well done.
Sara said to me the other day that her understanding of unconditional love meant doing something for somebody even if she didn’t want to, and doing it before she would do something else for herself in its place.
I explained to her that the true meaning of unconditional love, in fact, is loving someone regardless of what they do; without an agenda or caveat, and for no other reason than because they are who they are and you are who you are.
I’ve often referenced The Eisenhower Matrix when discussing being a good friend, brother, sister, daughter, son etc. to illustrate the difference between Urgent and Important, and how it will often vary depending on who you’re talking to, based on their life experiences.
In this particular instance, Sara was faced with a challenge that was urgent to her friend and while it was important, it wasn’t urgent in her eyes, yet she allowed their-urgency to become her-urgency. As she described the situation in retrospect, the resentment was evident in her voice yet she dismissed her feelings with a shoulder shrug by saying “It’s a good thing I love him unconditionally”.
She wasn’t acting from a place of love, she was acting from a place of guilt. Unconditional love has nothing to do with making yourself available on a whim, or sacrificing your own priorities because someone else can’t get their own ducks in a row.
In my profession, we hear one saying all the time, so imagine my delight when Sara quoted it back to me at the end of our conversation…asking how it related to her challenge.
This doesn’t only mean grandiose gestures such as donating a kidney or building homes on a Tsunami-devastated island…helping other people get what they want can even mean helping them achieve 5-extra-minutes-of-sleep or saving the day by bringing a roll of TP to the helpless, stranded person at the end of the hall.
The implementation of unconditional love comes in many forms…including, for instance…doing the dishes.
Have you ever assigned ‘dish duty’ to someone…
yet the sink magically remains full of dirty dishes?
Doesn’t have to be.
When you do the dishes for somebody else because they didn’t do it, you’re not doing it from a place of love, rather from a place of anger – begrudgingly sacrificing your time [and sanity] because some ass-hat didn’t do the dishes – again. There’s a difference between doing something for someone else in a selfless manner, and being a sucker.
This forces you into second place as far as your own priorities are concerned, and the inconvenience you feel is usually preceded with – or followed very quickly by – feelings of resentment, frustration and/or disappointment.
The toxicity resulting from negative emotions consumes your heart and your mind, torturing you as it resonates throughout your entire being, eventually becoming part of the energy around you, and therefore by extension, the energy or vibe of your home.
Speaking from personal experience, it’s highly unlikely that the dish-ditcher (*cough, cough, Michael*) will leap off the couch when they hear the commotion in the kitchen and race in to take over, apologies in tow. Unconditional love means loving the dish-ditchers even when they don’t do the dishes. They might not appreciate it, but the Universe does if you do it with love.
It’s not about doing the dishes for somebody because they didn’t; it’s about doing the dishes so you they can do something else.
Fundamentally, these two things are the same, at the end of the day, choosing to act with love rather than anger can sometimes mean that
– – you’re the one doing the dishes – –
…yet the feelings, thoughts and emotions you choose to associate with that particular action can’t help but manifest themselves into their physical equivalent in the form of energy, which will – without fail -reverberate throughout your life.
For better or worse.
Therefore, it’s really about doing the dishes so you can do something other than bitch about the dishes not being done.
When you act from a place of love, you set yourself free and everything becomes easier. Subconsciously, we inflict so much unnecessary pain and suffering onto ourselves and those around us. Day after day, these seemingly inconsequential decisions shape our world – stories we tell ourselves about how much we have to do, or why the kids are ungrateful, or how life has stacked the odds against us. By telling ourselves these stories – we concede to a tough life, allowing these tiny battles chip away at our souls – slowly but surely turning what is and should be a dream life, into a real-life horror story.
Simple changes to how you perceive situations…the stories you tell yourself regarding how you feel about your experiences, can and will have a dramatic impact on your life for the better.
It’s not about what did or didn’t happen.
It’s about the feeling you associated to what did or didn’t happen.
Your kids are watching. If you throw a fit about doing the dishes, what sane person would expect them not to throw a fit as well? You know that they say about Monkey’s…
Acting from a place of servant leadership does not mean you are an actual servant in the Cinderella sense of the word, but rather, it means doing what you do, and doing it with love, regardless. Doing the dishes with love doesn’t mean you love doing the dishes.
When putting love first – even if it means doing the dishes yourself – you act from a place of love; you create the time and space in your schedule so that they can do other things, and your payback is 100-fold…this act of selfless love actually makes time and space in your heart, also!!
Giving without the expectation of reciprocity is very freeing. It’s rare that the Universe will return your efforts to you in the same form.
Instead, maybe the person ahead of you in the drive-thru will pay for your coffee.
Or smile from the next car as you wait at the light.
Or someone will hold the door open for you.
Or shovel your snow.
Or simply say Hi.
Now don’t get me wrong, you may be doing a lot of dishes in the 18+ years that they live at home, but I promise you it’s all worth it when you overhear them talking to someone about acting from a place of love, or when they act selflessly by helping someone else, or that glorious day when you come home and the dishes are actually done, and they even have a glass of wine ready for you because they recognize and appreciate that you had a long day!!
Helping other people with seemingly inconsequential tasks so they can do other things means you are opening your heart to love and by extension, it opens their heart to love as well.
Love is all that is real.
And with love all things are possible.
My wish for you my friends, is that you keep your sinks clear of dirty dishes and your hearts open to the possibility of love in all that you do. I promise you this – you’ll be glad you did!!