New issue each Monday
Issue 19,  August 24, 2009     —      Beba Papakyriakou, Releasing Negativity

In this issue:   FEATURE: Sandra & Matthew Blakeslee, The Body Mandala   Kate Forster, Astrology in the Workplace   Guy Finley, Love's Secret Hold on the Human Heart   Caroline Sutherland, The Body Knows   Sharon Elaine, Affirmations for Health Concerns   Nancy Daly, Finding Joy Amidst the Chaos   Beba Papakyriakou, Releasing Negativity    Wider Screenings, From Woodstock to Snuff    Events   Reviews   Earlier issues   Submit Article

Unconditional love. What does loving unconditionally mean? That we will love another, irrespective of his or her behaviour, assuming we have learnt to separate the person from the behaviour? In theory, that's a wonderful ideal but how often does it work in practice.

Perhaps a parent/child relationship generally works that way. But what about the rest of our relationships?

Generally we tend to love a spouse/partner, "unconditionally", until he/she does something bad: Would you still love your spouse/partner, unconditionally, if he/she began physically abusing you, or cheating on you for example? Perhaps not.

Almost two decades ago, someone came into my life who very definitely taught me about unconditional love. Over the years, I have had to re-think my beliefs about many things, including unconditional love – loving, no matter what - in order to continue to have her in my space, otherwise with every upsetting, hurtful, destructive behaviour I would have moved out of her space, further and further, until such time as I was nowhere to be found.   The same would probably have been true for her, however unintentional any of our hurtful behaviours might be.

Up until a few years ago, I was convinced that I was somehow blessed and divinely guided, and that I knew what compassion and unconditional love was all about, and that this is clearly what I felt, experienced and demonstrated to this person.

But suddenly, I had what I believe was for me a "light bulb" moment.

For the first time in nearly a decade in that relationship, all those years ago, I was finally able (constructively, I hope) to mention some things about certain behaviours which had caused me the full gamut of "negative" emotions – anger, pain, hurt, anxiety, resentment, distress, hopelessness. I believe I tackled the situation with calm, love, compassion, decency, and emotional maturity.

And virtually from the moment I did this, I felt an immediate sense of unbelievable peace. But more than that, I had such a rush of strong positive feelings for this woman – the strongest ever up until that time. I felt as though I was walking on air, my head in the clouds, kind of like winning a few million dollars, I guess.

And I believe that at the core of this feeling and this high is a sense of unconditional love, in this case coming directly from my having been able to release negativity.

How did I make this huge leap from releasing negativity to feelings of peace and unconditional love? For all those years, I believed loving unconditionally meant that one loves another, no matter what the other does, and without asking or expecting that he/she change. But what if he/she does do something awful, or does change as a person to something we can't relate to? Do we still love unconditionally?

My "light bulb" moment showed me something very clearly: It isn't about the other person. It isn't about what he/she does. It is about how we feel inside. All these years, clearly I was stuck. I think those negative feelings were blocking me from something very precious: Being able to feel unconditional love for this person because it wasn't about her behaviour. It was about how I felt inside.

I am of course not saying that people should therefore lash out, and be violent and aggressive, so that they too can release negativity and have immediate strong feelings of love. Definitely not. But taking responsibility for all our feelings – positive and negative – and all our actions – positive and negative – and treating our most important relationships with love, compassion and understanding, might help us to raise our consciousness and have more meaningful interactions with people. And it gives us rational choice – do we stay, or do we walk away.  I have chosen to stay.

Being able to take one step back from another’s behaviours, especially the perceived negative ones, allows us to re-assess how we feel about all this, and not take it personally.  This has a huge spin-off, or at least it has had for me – nearly two decades later, I still have this person in my life and I am still in hers, in one form or another.  Each of us has her own life, and we have grown in many ways over the years.  Geographical distance and walking different paths is not always easy, but then nothing worthwhile comes easy.

My “light bulb” moment all those years ago has served us well.  It has allowed us to forgive the upsetting behaviours, of whatever nature, and embrace the good stuff all of which has led to stronger feelings of connection, wholeness and peace. We cannot control the behaviour of others.  But we can control our own perception of it, and how we choose to handle it.   ###

Beba Papakyriakou (BA, Hons BA Psychology)
International business owner,  published author, lay counsellor, two psychology degrees. Appeared on national TV, handed over copyright of one of my books to a non-profit. Working towards raising my own vibrations and those of people around me. Finding expression through writing often leads one towards wholeness.  And fun.

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