published: September 2019
The cart before the horse
Today a friend who has been using the principles of unconditional love emailed me saying: “Yesterday I read that the inability to tolerate an honest hindsight keeps many people from growing and learning. I believe it! It is so easy to see, how in the past, the awareness of my flaws and mistakes, followed by the harsh self-criticism, and the guilty feelings that followed that, led me straight to over-eating, or blaming, or feeling like a victim, or some other self-sabotaging behavior rather than learning.
“Because of the unconditional love I have received, I can now tolerate this honest hindsight. I don’t think I’m bad, no matter what the old parental voices in my head might be trying to say. And I know that when I reach out, I can find someone to love me unconditionally—with no expectation of me changing or being a certain way. This gives me the strength to look at myself honestly. And it also helps me see that most of my time in all the self-help and growth programs I have been involved in the past, has focused on trying to see myself clearly with eyes that were blind because they didn’t have enough love. I was blinded by my fear of being basically bad. I had the cart before the horse. Well, I see this differently now.”
I could so relate to what my friend wrote. I answered her with the following: “Yes, yes, yes, this is all so right on. I spent a lifetime doing every growth thing available, including living and practicing at the Ashram for 26 years. It was not until I began to believe through Unconditional Love that I am loved and worthwhile no matter what mistakes I made, that I could actually live the teachings and techniques I had studied so hard. Cart before the horse is a good way of putting it.
What this is all about is unconditional love (the horse). I came from a big family, about as good as they get—I am grateful. It seemed that my parents loved me. But somehow I understood that I had to do things as they wanted or I would get in trouble or even worse, they would not love me. As a child, my parents’ love was everything to me, so to avoid losing it, I tried to always be “perfect”, “good”, and basically “please” everyone. That got me a lot of positive strokes and made life easy for those around me but it left me with a terrible legacy of living for the approval of others and believing that if I did not make everyone “happy”, I was worthless. It was a very fragile self-esteem—it also took a lot of ongoing work, and it was pretty exhausting to worry about everyone else’s opinion.
So with those debilitating beliefs, every technique or teaching I learned would fall by the wayside when I did not get enough positive feedback from others. The ironic thing was, however, that when people told me how great or holy I was, I would hear inside, “if they only knew who I really was, they would not say these kind things”. So when things were quiet, I could feel how empty and afraid I was, a pretty terrifying realization. It is no wonder my relationships and work situations often turned out badly. Now that I can see more clearly and have unconditional love in my life, my relationships are very different, and I am much happier and much less exhausted—no more trying to be perfect all the time!
I invite those who may share some of these feelings to explore UnconditionallyLoving.com and to consider attending the Unconditionally Loving Workshop in Crestone, Colorado on August 9-11. For more information about this or other ways to receive support, go to: www.UnconditionallyLoving.com.