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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Love the Unlovely

I was reading a book* and saw these words: "Love the Unlovely". Those simple words really struck a chord in me. Sometimes the people we love the most do not act so very "lovely" to us. Sometimes little kids are crabby, sometimes it's teens that act "unlovely", or neighbors or parents or… we have the power to set the tone for our lives and love people through what ever is going on. How do you do that?

Here's something a wise woman taught me: when someone is saying or doing things that aren't so nice, it means that person is in pain. “What they really need is a blessing," she told me. So I tried it. The next time someone cut me off in traffic with an attitude, I blessed them. Right out loud I started saying things like, “I hope you get where you’re going safely. I hope you have many joyous times to celebrate with your family. I hope you live to a ripe old age and see beautiful healthy grandchildren.” Even if the driver of the other car is a young teenager, I bless him with these things. Usually they never hear me, but I hear myself. When I start blessing people who are grouchy or rude, I don’t always mean it when I begin but by the time I’m well into it, my heart is open and I mean every word. And guess what? I feel better. The tension in my body is released, I can take a deep breath, and I can move on to things that are more meaningful to me.

I used to work with teens that were placed in a residential treatment facility. They were boys that were neglected, abused or delinquent. I remember one boy who would get pretty cranky. I would sort of sing, “I love you!” He usually just walked away. Once I was the one who was short tempered and snapped, “I don’t have time for this right now.” He smiled and said, “I love you, too!” Boy, it felt nice to have those words come back at me—over fifteen years later, I still remember it.

May you be blessed to look for and find the words that will bless you and others! Take one step, one breath, at a time.

Aunt Laya

Please note: If someone is abusive or cruel, if they do things that tear you apart body or emotions, you may need to get to a safe place. In this post I'm talking about safe situations when someone is just out of balance with their emotions or mouth! If you need help getting away from an abusive situation; if you feel threatened, please search for safe houses or hotlines in your area, or a telephone hotline where someone can help you. If you're a kid, ask a teacher or counselor for help and keep asking until you get the help you need. Abuse of any kind, sexual or physical or emotional is not okay. It’s the right thing to ask for help to get out of an abusive situation!

*The book is 50 Great Tips, Tricks & Techniques to Connect with Your Teen by Debra Hapenny Ciavola, Ph.D.
photo from by Dani Simmonds

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