Monday, July 14

Undoing the Effects of Conditional Unconditional Love

I was listening to some friends talk recently about how they have been ostracized in many ways by their families and friends because they decided to walk away from “religion” in all forms. The area where we live is largely one religion, which professes CHOICE to be paramount and necessary in THE PLAN provided by JESUS, but the overall attitude of one CHOOSING differently than what everyone else is TOLD to choose, is an UNACCEPTING one.

I listen to my friends talk of their struggles wanting to live however they want to, not being told who they are or how to live, they continually speak of the disappointment, and being made to feel guilty or wrong for wanting to make choices themselves.

The reason I’m even writing about this as something interesting to me is because my parents have not done this to me. I lost my enchantment with religion while I was still a “teen”, so I have not had it in my life for more years than I did have it. AND I have had the support of my parents for all those years since.

I can’t personally relate to my friends stories and experiences, I don’t know what that struggle feels like, so my perspective is one of awe. I’m amazed that people allow the important idea of religion to stop them from treating their loved ones the way their religion says they should treat everyone.

I listen to the “unwelcome” attitudes my friends have to deal with from the people that should care most about them in life, and I hear a predominant theme… that they are going to have to find ways to heal this realization of conditional love. They have to fix feeling shame for not wanting to be religious, guilt for living a different life, and blame throughout it all.

They are made to feel wrong, bad, unwelcome, and struggle to fully wrap their heads around the fact that they are good people despite how they are treated.

What’s amazing is these friends I’m talking about are the highest quality of people I get to associate with. These are incredible friends, with amazing integrity, beautiful hearts, and generous natures. I am totally mystified that their FAMILIES can’t see this, but I can. And no, it’s not only their families, its friends too, who don’t understand their choice to walk away from religion.

I know how incredibly lucky I am to have lived more than half my life without religion or religious friends, and family members that love me irrespective of the word religion and that sad conditional love it embodies for most.

I’m not writing this because I feel lucky however. I’m writing this because I don’t know how to heal my friends. I can tell them how beautiful and wonderful I find them, but until they feel ok with believing it themselves, (silencing the shame, guilt, and blame) they are living outside of a level of happiness they are more than worthy of having.

All perspective is about choosing to feel the way we do, but when we have outside influences by those who are family it’s harder to not listen, and to choose “I’m incredible, irrespective of your beliefs about religion or me”.

I’d like my friends to allow their hearts, minds, and eyes to see their amazingness, and revel in the fact they already are the type of friend they want to have. I adore them, I label them “my bests”, and I love them JUST THE WAY THEY ARE!!

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