Love is not earned

Children lack insight into the minds and motives of adults, so as children we tend to take other people’s behaviour at face value.

I could never understand why things were often bleak and unpleasant at home. It didn’t make sense to me; but over time I concluded that I must have done something wrong, or failed to do something right and thereby earned these unhappy interactions.

Those thoughts stayed with me for a long time. In my interactions with new people I would be mindful of their possible expectations and my own “performance” according to those mysterious criteria.

I worried about making mistakes or doing something wrong in other people’s eyes. I would often second-guess people’s words and my own actions, trying to predict possible offences and conflict.

All that anxiety and effort stemmed from the false childhood premise that I was being treated according to my worth or desert, and these were lacking. I brought these thoughts to new interactions and looked for evidence to confirm them.

A new premise

With the benefit of knowing how I create my reality with my thoughts and focus, I can look back and see that things were not as bleak as I make out. If I hadn’t taken to heart the bad moods and cruel comments, there was plenty of room to manoeuvre.

If I had applied the Abraham-Hicks principles I would have had a much happier childhood.

It’s okay that I didn’t. My unhappiness has given me a correspondingly magnificent desire for joy, freedom, and expansion.

But looking back is helpful in this moment because I don’t want to keep those old thought patterns going anymore.

My new premise is that instead of getting the treatment I deserve, I get the reality I allow. God wants me to be happy, His love and blessings have never stopped flowing into me. It’s up to me to enjoy the flow instead of resisting it, to look to where the blessings are instead of where they aren’t.

There is no stream of bad things raining down on me because of some fault or error of mine. There are only good things that I allow, or resist.

Life is as good as I allow it to be; I am as happy as I allow myself to feel. Searching for my own faults and trying to avoid making mistakes was itself just the product of a misunderstanding.

There is no degree of personal perfection required to turn your life around. There is no correction of faults or errors required before people start treating you right. We do not earn God’s love and blessings, they are freely given.

We just have to accept them.

Accepting love without earning it

Many of us grow up feeling that our place in the world is not assured, that love and happiness must be earned or accomplished.

We look for ways to please others or keep our own hope alive – the thought that being different, becoming more or better will bring us the love we desire.

As adults it can be hard to disentangle being loved as we are from these patterns of behaviour that are all about being loved for what we do or who we hope to become.

In relationships we tune out the love that is already there, and focus instead on our own promises and ideals about the person we want to be.

Love and momentum

Even if we are loved for who we are, our own self-image may be tied up with “being better”.

We are carried by the momentum of old stories in which we imagined ourselves being more successful, more attractive, more loveable in any number of ways.

But in most cases the people who actually love us don’t know those stories and don’t care either. People love us not for our promise of who we are going to be; they love us for who we have been the whole time.

If we really want to feel that love, it has to start with us. We have to begin thinking thoughts about how loveable we already are, and always have been.

We need to appreciate that we have always been loved in our very essence, quite apart from our qualities and attributes.

And it helps a whole lot to know that who we are in essence is love. Our innermost being is an extension of divine love. Love is less a condition of how others relate to us and more a condition of our very existence.

When you charge your phone you don’t think about whether your phone deserves electricity or not. You charge it because that’s what it needs to function.

Your heart doesn’t beat because you’ve earned it. It beats because that’s what life is.

And this is what love is too: it’s the feeling of life within you, the spiritual essence of your existence here. Love is the greater part of your being, and it’s focused right now and always on your physical experience.

Emotional guidance

In fact that’s why it felt so bad in the first place: the very thought that we might not be worthy of the love we had enjoyed naturally as small children. It’s the falseness and disharmony of this thought that caused us such strong emotional guidance to the contrary.

The more we thought “I’m not good enough”, the worse we felt.

And in that awful feeling of emptiness arose the idea of changing ourselves until we were good enough.

But that just adds more plans and strategies on top of the initial falsehood. We don’t feel bad because we aren’t loved; we feel bad because we keep focusing on thoughts that feel bad, thoughts like “I’m not good enough”.

And the answer isn’t quite “I am good enough”, because love was never something we earned.

Love is natural. Love is who I am. Love is part of my being. Love is the precondition of my existence. Love is my starting point, my foundation. Love is always present to me. Love is the source of my being.

There is nothing I need do. There is nothing asked of me. There is nothing required for love to flow, except that I allow it.

Learning to complain

I’m learning to complain, and it’s wonderful!

Growing up, I was taught that complaining was pointless, immoral, unvirtuous, and ineffective.

So whenever I dealt with government departments, bureaucracy, or businesses my attitude was to follow their advice or their systems and hope that things would work out.

Today I rang a government department to complain, and it only took two months and some clues from the universe to get me to that point.

Beat your breast

It turns out that complain literally means to beat your breast, which in turn is to openly display your sorrow, disappointment or other strong feeling.

It took me two months to really comprehend that I wasn’t at fault, that the system had failed and my family had been unfairly disadvantaged.

I didn’t need to have a solution, and I didn’t have to trust the system. My trust is in God, not in systems.

So I found a way to feel good in my complaint. I rang with the intention of sharing my story, of the incorrect information we had received and the efforts we had gone to on our end.

And the people I spoke to were wonderful. They fixed the problem within minutes and everything is now reinstated, back as it was two months ago.

Except that I’ve grown and changed and learned so much through this process. It’s helped me focus on money and really appreciate all that I have. It’s helped me let go of resistance to having, receiving, and spending money.

It’s helped me trust so much more, and it’s shown me that God hears our complaints as much as our prayers.

Expecting better

For me now a complaint is the opposite of holding in or hiding my disappointment or sorrow. A complaint means openly expressing my dissatisfaction, and it by no means negates trusting, feeling good, or focusing on the positive while I do it.

A complaint is a genuine and authentic expression of something unwanted. I don’t expect to do it often, but I won’t resist it anymore when it feels like the path of least resistance.

You might even say that complaint is part of an entreaty. Like the psalms, it specifies what is wrong and demands, or requests better with an air of expectation.

Complaint is like an empowered and purposeful expression of dissatisfaction. It presumes worthiness, faith, and trust that things are supposed to be better. And it looks forward with expectation to having everything made right, made new, and reinstated.

I only deserve good things

If we recognise our own worthiness then we believe we are deserving of good things.

But practicing this, a memory arose of a time when I felt ashamed because of a faux pas. Shame is a belief that I am deserving of criticism, censure or punishment.

Why did this memory come up when I was feeling so good? Because it is another small pocket of resistance that I can now soothe and release.

Looking for faults

When we believe we are not deserving of good things, we look for confirmation of our faults and flaws.

That’s why a minor episode is magnified in my memory. It becomes an excuse to feel shame that “explains” my negative self-image.

But if we look for faults, failings and negative consequences we will create them in our experience. Expectation becomes reality.

Embracing worthiness

The beauty of this pocket of resistance arising right now is that I can amend and refine my perspective immediately.

I am recognising my own worthiness and that I deserve all good things in my life – and now I amend it to say that I deserve good things and only good things.

I do not deserve any bad things, any punishment, censure, blame or attack. I do not deserve any bad things or unwanted things in my experience.

I do not deserve any negative emotion. And i do not need to live with any fear of what my experience may hold for me.

I deserve only good things, and anything less has been just an unwitting creation through my resistance to all the goodness and blessings God is pouring out to me through my inner being.

I only deserve good things, there is no place in my life for anything less.

Inner citadel of the Self

Imagine yourself as a city, concentric rings radiating out from your core being.

Each ring is made up of thoughts, patterns of behaviour, and plans accrued through different stages of life.

Like Palmanova pictured above, they are very much layers of defence.

Renovation – make all things new

As we work at focusing on good-feeling thoughts, these rings or layers of defence are slowly dismantled and transformed.

The darkness and tension of wartime-footing is gradually overcome as we look for beautiful, wonderful things in our reality, confident that the more we embrace the good, the more good will come.

Persevere – don’t lose heart!

Remember that your core self right in the centre still has a lot of defences in place. The regime and fortifications against a world once thought to be hostile take time to release and undo.

That’s why it can sometimes be frustrating and disappointing to find negative thoughts appearing in the midst of new-found relief.

But don’t lose heart! These layers of defence do come to an end, and we dismantle them not by confronting and attacking but by finding relief and proving them unnecessary.

The inner citadel

As we get closer to the core we begin to see how these layers of defence came to be in the first place.

Right at the centre, with a young child’s natural sense of worth and appreciation, we first encountered unwanted aspects of reality and struggled to make sense of them.

We were “helped” to focus on the unwanted aspects as truth and unchangeable reality. Something had to give, and so we wavered in our sense of worth and expectation of good things.

That self-doubt turned our expectation of good into an expectation of…more of whatever was already happening. More unwanted, more doubt, more disappointment, more giving way to harsh realities.

The need for defences was born of no longer expecting good things, no longer thinking we deserve or are worthy of happiness.

That’s why learning to feel good is the answer. If we can learn to feel good despite unwanted circumstances then we rewrite that original conflict between our self-worth and “harsh realities”.

Our innate worth and goodness is not touched or tainted by unwanted circumstances. As we learn how our focus creates our reality, we learn that it is safe and sound to once again expect happiness and good things to come to us, because the promise of our own innate worth is self-evident, and we actively choose to no longer doubt it.