Idiom has it that it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. So, be lazy and smile. It seems to me the same principle is true of love.
When someone we love betrays our trust in them, the suffering has an intensity that can overreach the scale of the original injury. Our reflexive recoil against the pain brought on by the scorn of a loved on can make us lose our perspective. We may feel there has been a breach that can never be mended and be tempted to harden ourselves against love – the person who wronged us in particular. We often invest our ego in the idea I can never forgive him/her or put conditions on our willingness to forgive.
The thing is, we are designed to heal. With time, our minds process negative interactions. On a subtle level, we recognize the multiple factors involved in every dispute. We are capable of perceiving causative factors that may not have been evident at the time of the insult. Unfortunately, once we have ego identification with the pain, it becomes difficult to dismiss the defense mechanisms that sustain our anger.
This results in a tug-of-war between our natural process of healing and our conscious desire to prop up our pride by maintaining our self-righteous indignation. Ultimately, however, the natural entropy of anger is a stronger natural force than the fire of injured passion. The bottom line is that staying angry takes work.
Humanity’s limitless capacity to heal in this way demonstrates that giving unconditional love is an easier state of being than loving conditionally. This is not to say one has to agree to be plod on repeatedly. Rather, all of us have an inherent understanding that none of us are always on our best personal behavior.
We all have “issues.” We all get triggered. When we truly examine our interactions, we all must ultimately acknowledge our gratefulness that others have been willing to let our moments of ego-clinging and selfishness slide. This recognition results in cognitive dissonance in providing only conditional love. Instead of soothing us, it amplifies our struggle and increases suffering for those who commit themselves to loving conditionally.
Consciously deciding to embrace the personal weaknesses of those we love – forgiving even when someone doesn’t “deserve” it; drawing closer even when we want to pull away – brings us closer to our natural state. It’s just plain easier.
In the waning hour of this Valentine’s Day, commit yourself to this principle: Be lazy – love unconditionally.
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