I know I have. Withholding love is a very common reaction when people are not living up to your expectations, or you truly believe what they are doing is wrong.
With what happened in Connecticut last week, you may believe that there are things that people have done that are plain unforgivable.
It can be easy to feel justified in judging the culprit as unworthy of your love.
I totally get that.
When I was a kid, I was emotionally and physically abused by my father. And I doubt that many people had any idea of the pain being inflicted on me, my mother, and brothers behind closed doors. It took him almost killing my mother one night for us to find the courage to leave him.
At the age of 15, I severed all connections with my father.
I think most people would say I was justified in withholding love from him. And I did for a long time.
While it was the absolute best decision I could have made to protect myself from any future physical and emotional harm, not forgiving him only hurt me.
“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.”
Shutting your heart down—even for the best of reasons—does not actually punish the other person. And it is far more detrimental to you.
The negative reaction is felt in your body, not theirs. And it is causing you physical harm.
This is why practicing forgiveness and unconditional love is so powerful.
By allowing yourself to give love—no matter what—you’re providing yourself with constructive, positive energy that actually boosts your immune system and helps heal and rebuild your body at the cellular level. And yes, helps you get the body you want.
Over the years, I let go of the anger, hurt, and pain that I experienced in the relationship with my father. Not only did I come to forgive him, but I began to see there was actually nothing to forgive.
You see, I learned so much about myself and what I wanted as a result of those experiences.
- I learned that I had a powerful voice when twice he came to my bed—and I said “No.”
- I got crystal clear on what I didn’t want out of a relationship, which I think was necessary to figure out what I did want. That clarity is absolutely the reason I chose the amazing man who has been my husband for 20 years.
- I became who I am right now—and that is a strong, powerful, loving woman who has so much to offer the world.
From where I am now, I truly value those experiences—and my father.
On Saturday, I received news that my father had died.
What I felt was peace.
I could feel the last little bit of my with-holding love relax as I envisioned my father on the other side experiencing the pure positive love of All-That-Is.
From now on, all I will ever give to—or receive from—him is love.
The timing of my learning of my father’s death felt meaningful to me. Many of you may be experiencing significant grief and anger from the events that occurred on Friday. And certainly, women who struggle with their weight often carry the wounds of abuse.
So I’m sharing my story with you, not to make you feel like you need to find forgiveness, love, and peace today, but to let you know it’s worth striving for. It’s worth feeling the pain and moving through it. That you can let go of the hot coal, and that your life will be so much more wonderful than you ever imagined as a result.
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.
Begin to notice when you are shutting your heart down. Pay attention to how uncomfortable that feels.Recognize that it’s up to you to change your reaction.
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!