First, to explain, according to The Marriage Foundation, western psychology has less than a 10% chance of saving a marriage but their book, called Breaking the Cycle has almost 100% success (Friedman, 2007). The book teaches unconditional love in an enlightening, novel way. After reading the book, my worldview changed. My relationships changed. My attitude changed. And others around me changed. All for the better.
But the book doesn’t just apply to your significant other. It applies to all your loved ones.
Here are four life lessons for eternal bliss that this book taught me:
Lesson 1: Never emotionally dump on anyone.
When we emotionally dump on others, we risk losing them. Before, when a crisis occurred in my life, I’d emotionally dump on loved ones. It’s common in the West; it’s called venting. Sadly, by venting, I lost a beloved mentor.
I’ve since learned that the mature response is to seek your own solutions. Everybody has life lessons to learn, and yours are unique to you. Therefore, you have unique solutions, which only you, ultimately, can discover (Friedman, 2007). It’s okay to seek advice from books, from mentors, or significant others, but it’s best to keep our drama to ourselves.
When we don’t vent, good energy manifests.
Lesson 2: Never speak harshly against loved ones.
I risk emotionally dumping with this next story, but it helps me share a life lesson. Recently, my elderly mom and I had an argument. It was trivial, and I didn’t know we were arguing until she grew upset. And then she stopped communicating with me. I wrote her, pleading for her to speak with me, reassuring her that I loved her. The next day, I discovered why she had stopped communicating. She had been hospitalized with a blood clot in her lung.
So, never be at odds with your loved ones—especially with a parent, child, or spouse. Death could slip in at any moment—and a final harsh word would wound you both forever.
Does never being at odds sound hard to achieve? Well, it isn’t really. Simply avoid harsh words. When you feel anger, focus on your loved one’s positives. I imagine drumming up how you’d defend your loved one’s soul to God should judgement day arrive. Show your loved one nothing but unconditional love (Friedman, 2007).
Lesson 3: Blame no-one; blame is a victim’s game.
I learned that magpies forever remember the face of a friend or foe. And if one finds you a foe, they all find you a foe. It’s a self-defense mechanism. When I had been ill a decade ago, magpies sensed my sickness and began cawing and swarming me.
Despite this, I later found friendships with magpies. I fed them birdseed and cat food on my way to work. But recently, they started cawing madly again. Perhaps one recalled me from a decade ago.
So, should I blame the birds for the bad energy? After all, they’re just birds doing what birds do. It’s their instinct.
When loved ones hurt us, they, too, run on instinct. It’s called self-preservation (Friedman, 2007). And we tend to react out of instinct, as well. But if we place no blame, and instead show unconditional love and self-accountability, we all benefit (Friedman, 2007).
Despite the cawing, I still feed the magpies cat food and send them unconditional love.
Lesson 4: Unconditional love manifests when you give it, not when you receive it.
I often wish I had a better singing voice. If I had one, I’d write love songs. Not songs about breakups and heartaches, but about unconditional love. And not songs about respecting yourself while exposing your bra, either. That’s one teenage influence I wish I had avoided.
I love the lyrics in a song by the Beatles. The lyrics go something like, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” After reading Breaking the Cycle, I believe the love we feel is the love we give, not the love we take. In other words, we feel unconditional love when we give unconditional love, not when we receive it (Friedman, 2007). The receiver of love has walls that prevent pure unconditional love from being fully received, plus, the receiver of love isn’t the one manifesting that glorious feeling (Friedman, 2007).
The Marriage Foundation says the receivers of unconditional love hardly feel it, if at all. But they do typically respond to it. In other words, even if no-one loves you, you can still send (and thus feel) unconditional love. And my guess is that you’d attract the love you’d otherwise have missed. But you must expect nothing in return; that’s the whole point of unconditional love (Friedman, 2007).
So, pour unconditional love onto all the people you love! Don’t waste a worry on whether or not they love you. After Mom’s report of a blood clot in her lungs, I sent her ongoing unconditional love and well-wishes for her healing. The love I sent her felt better than any love I’ve ever received. The same goes for the unconditional love I send all my loved ones. The love you give—not the love you take—creates the love you feel.
Whether you are estranged from your loved ones or not, send them unconditional love. I recently heard an old Indian proverb. I believe it says, if you think of a person and they soon thereafter appear, then that person will have a long life. But I say that, if you think of a person with unconditional love, then, whether or not that person appears, you will find eternal bliss.
With that said, I just sent you, my reader, unconditional love. Did you happen to feel it? I did.