I've been reading a book by Greg Baer. I wish to remember some of the things I learn as I go. Writing them will help.
"Imagine that you are having a difficult day. Several people have confronted you about mistakes you've made or assignments you've not completed and you are feeling inadequate and irritated. The computer isn't working--again--and your car is in the shop for the third time in the past two months....
"In the midst of your frustration, a man and a woman walk into the room and address you by name. Even though you've never seen them before, you feel as though they've known you all your life. Somehow you sense from their peaceful and inviting expression that you can trust them completely. They ask you to go with them, and without hesitation you get up and follow them.
"Side by side, you walk beetween this couple for some time, finally turning into the driveway of a beautiful home. Walking through the front entryway, you enter a spacious, well-lighted room, where many people are talking to one another. After seeing you, several of them come over to greet you. Although you've never met them before, you feel no anxiety, because you see in their faces and gestures nothing but sincere and unreserved welcome.
"In a way that you can't describe, you sense that everyone in this room feels loved and happy, and you know that no matter what mistakes you've ever made or what flaws you have, these people accept you completely. As you sit and talk with them, you realize you don't need to do anything to impress them, nor do you have a need to hide anything from them.
"Utterly relaxed, you begin to tell them the story of your life. You talk about your mistakes, your foolishness, your weaknesses, your fears, and your successes. They understand everything you're saying, and they accept you and care about you. You know there is nothing you could do that would disappoint or irritate them, nor would it be possible to feel embarassed or ashamed around them. For hours you talk and laugh with these new friends.
"Allow yourself to enjoy this feeling. Let it sink in and fill your entire being. Allow yourself to float in the calm, sweet ocean of the peace you feel. You'd like to stay in this place forever, but the day draws to a close and eventually you must go home. As you leave your friends invite you to return anytime you wish, and you know they mean what they say.
"Now come back to the real world and consider this question: While you were with these people, did you feel any inclination at all to be angry at them--or lie to them or withdraw from them? The idea is ridiculous--how could you feel angry or otherwise react negatively toward people who [you realize] unconditionally accept and love you? Moreover, while you were with those people, did you feel any inclination to be angry with anyone else--at any of the people you know in [your everyday] life? Were you irritated about the dysfunctional computer or the car in the shop? While you were with those loving people you didn't have any of those negative feelings because when we feel unconditionally loved, we have the one thing that matters most in all the world, and then we lose our need to be angry , to feel hurt, to lie to people, and to withdraw from relationships."
So the first thing I learn, as I read this book is the importance and goodness of sweet, loving, accepting, peaceful, inviting, trustworthy, welcoming interaction. There is great goodness in this gift one can give to the members of one's family when, no matter another's mistakes or flaws, you accept them, love them and are honestly interested in them.
I've known a few people who radiate this kind of unconditional love and have enjoyed that blessing from them. But I don't always give it. It's too easy to instead fall into the trap of being disappointed or anxious or feeling insecure or worried in my interactions with others. And when I do, I miss out on the opportunity to give them the one gift that most helps them to respond to life well; unconditional love.
More thoughts later.