When someone does not live up to our “rules,” we feel justified in judging them as unworthy of our love. Withholding love—or out-and-out punishment—is a very common reaction when we think people are not living up to the standards we believe to be the “right” ones.
But shutting our hearts down—even for the best of reasons—does not actually punish the other person as we think it does—and it is far more detrimental to us.
The catabolic reactions are felt in our bodies, not theirs. These are the draining and destructive body processes—such as the release of stress hormones—that actually eat away at our cells.
This is why practicing forgiveness and unconditional love is so powerful. By allowing ourselves to give love—no matter what—we are providing ourselves with constructive, anabolic energy that actually heals us from the inside out.
Withholding love is something we learned—it is not our natural way of being. Look at the love and joy that flows through little children. But almost from day one, we begin giving children the lesson that if they behave in a certain way, they will make us happy and we will then love them. It doesn’t take long for children to learn that control is a part of love.
Begin to notice when you are shutting your heart down in judgment. Pay attention to how uncomfortable that feels. Recognize that it’s up to you to change your reaction—it is not up to the other person to change their behavior—even if you believe them to be “wrong.”
Where people often get stuck is feeling like loving someone anyway is the same as condoning that awful behavior. This is where it is helpful to remember that the Universe (God, Higher Power, All-That-Is–whatever works for you), is involved in that other person’s life, too, and that each of you is receiving guidance. Your job is to pay attention to your reactions and move towards the bigger part of you. Your guidance will always lead you to the best outcome for you. As soon as you begin trying to control another, you lose your true power.
Where in your life are you withholding love? What can you do today to open that door in your heart just a little bit? Notice how much better that feels.
Together we can do it!