Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
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!
Thanks, Kristin! Appreciate you!
More than two millennia back, Jesus Christ had said, ” Hate the sin, not the sinner.”
I guess one way to do this is to take time to respond rather than react in the moment. Wit the realisation that it is our perception of the situation rather than the situation itself is what drives us to react, we can take the leap of faith.
Beautifully said, Shakti. Thanks for sharing!
Great post. This is a good reminder even for the little annoyances in my marriage, I suppose. I think taking this approach could really help. Thanks!
So glad you found it helpful! Appreciate you! Thanks for commenting.
I’m not your typical foo-foo, spiritual, hippie kind of guy, but I pragmatically believe in the benefit of loving everyone no matter how annoying or evil they appear to be.
There’s this attitude out there that if someone behaves in a way you don’t like, you are expected to hate them and maybe even get revenge in some way. But there is no rule that says when you must hate someone, hate or love is a choice.
Love is hard work, but the payoff is worth it.
I totally agree! And I’ve never thought the hippie’s had the market on love. Love is available–and a choice–for everyone. Thanks so much for commenting!
I needed that reminder today. Thank you.
Glad it was helpful!