Love is the wind beneath the wings of all we do at Heart-Centered Revolutions. Unconditional love is our carrier wave. Unconditional love is the best way to express all communication with another. When we give messages to help inspire another to grow and change, it’s always best when the message rides on the love. This makes it easier for the person to receive the message in the service of their potential.
Unconditional love is not a flowery statement of idealism, but a practice we maintain and deepen everyday. I define unconditional love as the basic connection we feel for ourselves and each other without negativity. When we love another unconditionally, we want the best for the other person with no expectations. Unconditional love inspires openness and positive regard.
When unconditional love is not the carrier wave, any attempt to change another becomes a perpetration. Trying to change someone without accepting and loving them first is an act of perpetration because full respect for their being is missing. We are treating them as an object while believing we know how they should behave. This is hubris and must be stopped. It is through practicing and grounding in unconditional love and empathy that we can address and help support nearly any behavior or issue.
What makes love unconditional? Unconditional means without conditions or restrictions. Carl Rogers brought the concept of unconditional positive regard to Humanistic Psychology. In both unconditional love and unconditional positive regard we can challenge another’s unconscious or maladaptive behaviors; we simply never withdraw the connection no matter what happens. When we have unconditional positive regard or unconditional love, we never look down on the other. We seek to understand them. (The link in this last sentence explains in more detail Roger’s approach. So much of what we do rests on his great work.)
In all close relationships, we must examine the tendency to project our own experiences and issues onto others. In parenting, romantic relationships, friendships, and working relationships, projection is very common. When we project onto our children, we can no longer see them for who they are. We start viewing them according to our own ideas, traumas, or past experiences. Oftentimes, we don’t understand exactly what our children are struggling with and read malicious intent into interactions which are simply not there. Other times, we assume they understand things they don’t or we just don’t adequately use empathy to fully comprehend where they are. Projection blocks perception. When there’s no projective filter obscuring our vision, we can more easily see our children as they truly are.
All Behavior Comes from Our Learning History
All behavior is shaped by the consequences of our environment. In ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) we call this operant conditioning. In everyday parlance it simply means certain actions are effective in helping us get what we want, while other actions are ineffective. Everyone seeks to get the most of what they want out of life and responds to the universe through learning through experience. Some of us are better able to learn and adapt to our experiences while others have trouble learning and adapting to the environment and our experiences. This is how we are shaped by our environment and our learning history.
We must understand that everyone is doing their best with what they have to work with at the time. When we accept everyone as good at heart and trying their best, we can respond appropriately. Let’s take social skills as an example. Many of us learn social skills intuitively. We know when a person stops listening to us and we learn to stop talking when we get the cues. Others never learned this social skill and keep talking when others aren’t listening. It’s very helpful to show people who have a deficit in their social skills what they are missing, particularly when they have been diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Often people with developmental disabilities have trouble reading social cues.
We Are all Developmentally Disabled
People who aren’t diagnosed with a developmental disability still have places that have been frozen in trauma. When we freeze in trauma, we stop learning. Obviously some of us come into this world with more severe developmental disabilities than others, but we all are all developing at different rates and in different ways. Any break in development is in some sense a developmental disability. This is what I mean when I say we are all developmentally disabled. Another way of saying this is, we all have a developmental track which is different from “normal” development.
My work using empathy with the developmentally disabled population has taught me so much about patience and love. When we apply the principles of patience to any human being who is learning, we remove shame from the equation. We all are exactly where we are as a result of our innate and learned capacities. Through not judging ourselves and each other, we set up the ideal environment for growth. When we accept our way of developing and learning, the process becomes much easier.
Guilt and Shame Free Learning
By removing guilt and shame from the learning process, we can accelerate it. Humans are like plants: when the environment completely supports a plant, it will grow and thrive. Humans also thrive when we have the fertile soil of a secure and loving connection, the warming sunlight of unconditional love, the right water, air, and nutrients of inspired experience, and our tribe of support around us. Guilt and shame bog down the learning process. They become sand in the gearbox: they only get in the way. By accepting where we are unconditionally, we can move forward most effectively. As I’ve worked with families over the years, I’ve been amazed how much more quickly the learning process happens when guilt is removed from the equation.
Creating Environments that Support Growth
Unconditional love always moves to support growth. By creating environments that nurture growth, we create holding containers for the inspiration of love to come down, shine on us, and bless us. When the environment supports the growth of everyone in the system, we have a truly heart-centered environment. Let’s work together to make our homes, our businesses, and our community environments truly support growth and evolution.
Heart-Centered Revolutions was created to lead humanity into an age of empathy and unconditional love. You’re invited to participate in the revolution through joining our mailing list for the newsletter and enrolling in events or courses.
The best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart with empathy and truly coming from unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. For more on how to bring heart-centered principles into your everyday life, we have a collection of books to help guide you. You can also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles by reading the articles on our blog. We offer business consulting and personal and parenting coaching, as well as workshops and courses.
If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!
Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to making a world that works for everyone.