It is usually (but not always!) easier to choose love over anger, fear, frustration or other emotions when we are interacting with people we deeply love. This is especially true when we have reached a level of unconditional love, of loving someone without expectation. I cannot claim to love everyone this way, but I am committed to this goal.
Each day, I become more aware of how choosing love improves all of the experiences of my day-to-day life. Most of the people I know well, my family and close friends, are kind and compassionate people so choosing love in my interactions with them is easy. Those are not the choices that prompted me to write this post today.
Two startling experiences recently tested my commitment to choose love over anger, challenged me to question whether love was always the best choice. Spoiler alert… I have decided once again that love IS always the wisest and best choice. Rather than recount the details of my two recent experiences, I will summarize by saying that they occurred in the most unlikely places. In the first situation I was offering to help an older man who was having difficulty exiting the public library. In the second case, we were in a small restaurant while on vacation. Both times, I was shocked by the intensity of the anger directed at me and by the words used to express it. I was even more shocked because in neither case could I understand the reason for the rage.
These two experiences reminded me, as an advocate for love and compassion, that the choice to be kind and loving is not always the easiest choice. I know that it should be – and I wish that it were – but quite honestly it is difficult to remain loving when a stranger is angrily yelling at me. Recognizing that my own anger may bubble up reflexively, I also realize that what I choose to do in that moment IS where my power lies. Expressing my own anger, or holding on it after it arises, these are important choices in the moment the emotion first emerges. Choosing love and compassion… BEING loving and compassionate… is not always my first and immediate reaction, but I want it to be.
Each of us has the power to choose our reactions to irritating situations, people and experiences that we may face on any given day. My two recent experiences caused me to question whether I actually WOULD chose love and kindness rather than expressing the frustration I was actually feeling. And while I did not return the anger with anger, these situations cause me to think about HOW to consistently choose love.
I now keep these reminders close at hand, as consistent messages to myself about who and how I choose to be…
… May every choice I make be made in and from a place of love.
… In every moment, I choose LOVE as the lens through which I see myself and others.
… I hold a place and a space of loving acceptance, encouragement, and forgiveness for myself and for others.
Sending love and gratitude to all, and hoping you will share your ideas about ways we can all continue to spread love and compassion in our families, our communities, our countries, and in the world.
p.s. It has now been six months since my beloved Mom, Catherine (aka Kathryn for many years!) crossed from this life to the afterlife. I am so deeply grateful to the many people who reached out with messages of sympathy, support and encouragement. THANK YOU so very, very much. EVERY message helped during this challenging time for me and for our family.