A great source of anger and frustration can be reactions to the choices of others. We can spend a lot of time and energy wondering why someone said something or did something. Other people’s choices can even severely disturb our inner peace. Loving unconditionally in the midst of frustration takes a lot of internal work, and it begins with allowing other people their freedom. It’s good to remind yourself that every person can actually be who they want to be and do what they want to do. If we start there, we’ll hopefully be able to discover why we are so disturbed by someone’s words or choices and be able to love and welcome them as they are.
Taking some time to discover the source of your frustration will help temper it, so that people don’t experience what you’re feeling. This is especially important when you’ve become unable to be loving towards someone. Allowing someone their freedom means allowing them their humanity. What can be very difficult to embrace is loving the way the Lord loves. Only He can freely pour out love for every person without any concern for what they give back. Following after Him and loving in this way is beautiful and truly can’t be accomplished without prayer and surrender.
If I am unable to be loving towards you, my love may have become conditional. Unconditional love says, circumstances and choices don’t determine when and if I give love. Stop and ask yourself why you feel the way you feel. Why am I spending so much time upset at this person? Exploring this question will hopefully lead to a helpful answer.
The answer can be based in love and concern. It can also be based in pride or fear. Here is a mixture:
I wish they would think more like me.
I feel hurt by what they did.
I am worried they will hurt themselves.
I want them to care more about what I think.
I think they are wrong and I am right.
I want to be the one to set them straight.
There are many reasons why we can become overwhelmed by what other people do. Take the time to understand yourself so that you can understand the other. Every person is formed by their environment and experiences. If I am going to put my energy into considering someone’s words or choices, it should be to generate compassion. How you are is something that I should want to understand in my mind so that I act compassionately towards you.
We should remind ourselves daily that the only lives we can control are our own. The time and energy that we normally put into wanting others to be different should be redirected towards our own choices.
To love you intentionally and unconditionally, I must be intentional about allowing you your freedom.