Unconditional Love

by Annie Kaszina on January 25, 2008

The ex-husband and, indeed, the ex-mother-in-law have both
resurfaced in the past two weeks. 

I choose to see it as another opportunity for letting go at
a deeper level.

Unsurprisingly, Regina, my ex-mother-in-law was a
Mother-in-law From Hell, possessive, ruthless, utterly selfish. 

We didn’t get on at all. 

It would be fair to say we both demonized the other. 

A few days ago her son, the ex-husband, sent Regina’s
autobiography to our daughter. 

It made grisly reading. She was a World War 2 concentration camp survivor. She had a hard life. As another concentration camp survivor
explained to me that did not justify or excuse her bad behaviour in any
way. But I acknowledge that her life
contained significant hardship and misery.

Her autobiography also contained a lot of lies and
distortions, and a lot of venom. Naturally
some of that venom was directed at me.

At first I found myself caught up in the old dialogue with a
woman who lives half way round the world, whom I haven’t spoken to in 15
years. She had no right… How dare she
say X, when the truth was…? 

I decided to write her a none too friendly a letter, telling
her a few home truths. Old as she is,
she deserved to hear them. I wanted her
to hear them.

I wasn’t worried about her feelings. 

But as I focused on my own sense of injustice it struck me
that sending that letter would hook me right back into the old,
ugly feelings. I was already starting
to feel small and worthless and of no account.

Suddenly, I knew what I had to do: I had to send her
unconditional love. It wasn’t a personal thing. I didn’t have to find it in my heart to love and forgive her –
that really would be a step too far. I
only had to acknowledge to myself that whoever she is, whatever she has done
and the choices she has made, she is still entitled to unconditional love from
a higher power. What she makes of that
unconditional love is not my concern.

It took hours before I could bring myself to sit down and
send that unconditional love. Those
hours felt like sitting, to use a curiously English phrase, with ‘ a turd
between my teeth’.

When I bit the bullet and did it, I felt a sense of peace,
of closure. It severed one more of the
toxic links connecting me to a period of my life that is, happily, ancient
history. 

Letting go of past hurts is a process that continues for years. But it is a liberating and enriching process
at every step of the way. Yes, we have
all endured awful things, all had appalling, cruel things done to us. When we can finally let go of them it is a
blessing.

Maybe you are not in a place where that is possible for you,
right now. That’s ok. I’m certainly not trying to hold myself up
as Little Miss Saintly 2008. I’m no
angel and I wouldn’t want to be. (I’ve
done Little Miss Martyr and that was hard enough.) 

All I want to do is signpost the way ahead for you. As and when you are ready to let go of old
baggage you will lose nothing, no stature, no identity, no meaning. Actually you will gain. You were always so much more than the ill
treatment you have received. 

Oh, and whether or not you choose now to send unconditional
love to anyone else, why not send some to yourself? Just commit to saying the words out loud to yourself several
times a day: “I send myself unconditional love” and see how it feels.

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