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Choosing Unconditional Love
“If you can’t love unconditionally, don’t love anyone unconditionally”
In “The Power of Stories” I wrote about how the stories we tell about ourselves and what we deserve from life create our reality. In the Self Mastery program, the first of the eight principles is Self Belief and one of the core practices is the ability to discover these deep stories and start rewriting the ones that don’t serve us.
However, underneath these stories is a fundamental question: “Do you love yourself unconditionally?”
When asked this, most people immediately answer “Of course I do” but a little questioning often uncovers the doubt. For example, imagine that it is late in the day, the phone rings, you answer it and after talking to your sister you realize that you have forgotten your Mother’s birthday.
Later that night, as you lie in bed, do you berate yourself for being such a forgetful jerk or have you graciously forgiven and resolved to find a better way to remember things in the future?
Or imagine that while trying to resolve an incorrect phone bill, trying to communicate with a customer “service” representative in a far away country, whose first language you are sure is DEFINITELY not English, your daughter points her paint table at the new carpet and you – despite doing your morning yoga and meditation – completely LOSE her and tear up.
a) Do you forgive unconditionally and move on?
b) Mull over it berating yourself constantly for being a bad parent and tell yourself that you have most likely only caused your child in the long term a deep psychological fear that – in 15 years time – will result in them turn to drugs and blame YOU for it?
c) Absolve yourself of ALL responsibility by blaming the stupid telecom person and repeating this story to your 3 year old daughter in the hope that somehow she will understand this and FORGIVE?
Do you see the point?? Is the little voice in your head your friend or your persecutor of judgment constantly there to remind you what you have done wrong and why you should feel guilty and ATTACK for love?
So maybe I’m exaggerating a bit and then again maybe not?
But where does this judgmental stuff come from and how do we move beyond it so we can embrace ourselves unconditionally?
Think of it this way – up until the age of about 2, we generally can’t hurt. Babies can throw up on you, poop in their pants, break things, keep you up all night crying and STILL love them unconditionally.
Then somewhere around age 2 you want them to do a few more things for themselves and you start to get a little annoyed if they don’t. For example, you want them to feed themselves and if they throw the food all over the floor you get angry. You want them to cry in the toilet, but they cry on the floor and you get angry.
Your message – with the greatest of good intentions – is “Do this the right way (in other words as I say) and you are a good boy/girl and father/mother loves you”.
His response to the message is probably something like – “Hey, wait a second, I could have done something and you loved me now that everything has changed and become subject to doing and being a certain way.”
Reflecting on the Ontological Model for Being – Past, Present and Future.
More in the Past are our stories about how the world works and what is right and wrong, etc. Because we have a certain fixed view of how the world works and therefore what should be done and how it should be to “move forward” – we pass it on to our children. We tell them “This is the right way to do things, this is the right way to be” and our lever to make them do and be that way is to give them recognition for good things and discouragement for bad things. Therefore our attention – and by interpretation our love – is conditional.
So fast forward to the adult hood and here we are with this little internalized dialogue about what is right and wrong and how the world works. If we do the right thing, then we “say” “well done”. But if we do the wrong thing then we “tell” ourselves “bad girl/boy”. So the consequence is often “bad girl/boy” that you don’t deserve to receive love and abundance.
So come back to change ourselves and change the world.
We take some responsibility here – as convenient as it is to blame our parents for all our internalized faults and therefore absolve ourselves of any responsibility and embrace the notion of victimhood.
If you want to change the inner stories you tell about yourself and what you believe you deserve from life, then the first thing is to CHOOSE to love unconditionally.
That is, despite all the “bad” things you can do CHOOSE to stay in a loving space for yourself. Now I don’t mean that you should jump up and go and rob the corner store – that would be stupid – remember that Self Mastery is about taking RESPONSIBILITY and taking a step to change ourselves and change the world.
WE ARE THE ONES WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.
So, stop waiting and move.
CHOOSE to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY.
Recognize where the negative self-talk is coming from. Recognize that your parents and those who influenced you in your formative years did the best they could.
And that doesn’t mean you should ignore every negative thing you might do or be. What I am saying is recognize and redirect.
“Even though I yelled at my daughter today and made her cry, I chose to forgive and love unconditionally and I set my intention to be calm, loving and less reactive in the future.”
The starting point is to choose. Judgment and negative stories about yourself will lead you straight into the Past/Present cycle which will simply perpetuate your old way of being. And as I wrote before, as soon as you start telling that negative story about how “bad” you are, there will be a series of past events flashing before your eyes that will provide you with a lot of evidence as to why this is TRUE .
But YES, it’s just a STORY, remember?
So – standing here fully in the present, I recognize what I have done and I recognize the story I have about myself, but I choose to return to face the future and love unconditionally.
“Keep your face in the sun and you can see no shadows” – Helen Keller
In other words “I see what I have done or how I have been, but this is not me, this is not who I chose to be and I decided to move forward to strive to create a different future.”
When you choose to love unconditionally and choose not to berate yourself for your failures, but to acknowledge and redirect them, you change the story of what it is that you DESERVE from life.
If you constantly tell yourself where you are wrong and that you are a bad person, the consequence is that you do not believe that you deserve much from life and therefore – guess what – that is what you have!
Choose to love unconditionally and take responsibility for creating a bigger you and suddenly you have a much bigger space for what you DESERVE from life. If you’re not such a bad person, you deserve a little more. If you focus on what you do well and start emphasizing the positive then maybe you deserve a lot more from life?
So – how to change all this?
1) CHOOSE to love yourself UNCONDITIONALLY
2) Be aware of the stories you tell yourself and the times when you berate yourself
3) Recognize these stories then rewrite them according to what you want
4) Get into the habit of asking “What am I doing right?”
The result of this is that you have to change your relationship with yourself.
The beautiful and amazing result of this is that it will change your relationship with others. Instead of projecting your crap onto them and being conditional in your love for them, you can hold a space of UNCONDITIONAL love.
That is, instead of loving someone until they act a certain way towards you – you can CHOOSE to love them regardless of how they are or what they do. In this way you will set the tone of your relationship and really have a space of love for them.
And in this way love becomes divine power. Divine power enough to change the world.
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