What does it take to love someone? Have you ever sat down and thought about it? Like really think, do I know "How to Love?".
We assume that as a human being we should all know "How to Love" - however, no-one teaches us "How to Love."
In Thich Nhat Hanh's book "How to Love" he writes;
"Before having a child, it would be wonderful if people would take a year to look deeply into themselves, to practice loving speech and deep listening, and to learn the other practices that will help them enjoy themselves and their children more."
I think this is the magic that lives in Motherhood.
Every child, from 0-6 asks this one question: "Do you love me?".
In Dr. Dan Siegel's book, "No Drama Discipline," he explains that when our child is reacting, or being out of control - they are testing whether we love them or not.
When a child is sitting in their chair, throwing food off the table, they are curious at first. If we react, they will do it again - only this time, they are asking; "Do you love me when I'm at my worst?".
Being around Avery, I check in with myself - Does he feel that I love him conditionally or unconditionally?
We can only understand unconditional love when we have it for ourselves.
It starts with having compassion. On a scale of 1-10, how compassionate are you with yourself when you make a mistake?
Are you kind to yourself? On a scale of 1-10, how kind are you to yourself? Do you judge yourself?
We can only give what we have.
Every human being wants to feel seen, heard, and understood. And when we are at our worst - we want to believe that we are worthy of love.
The other day Avery wanted to play with my mobile phone. Moments earlier he picked up the phone and dropped it on the tiles in the kitchen, so I took it and placed it on the table out of his reach.
"Mummy, mummy, I want your phone...". I felt like he was sulking.
"Honey, it's mummy's phone, I don't want you to damage it."
"Mummy, mummy, I want phone..."... The two-year-old kept repeating this until real tears started falling out.
I was walking around the house cleaning, and I didn't think much of it.
He came up and cried; "Mummy, mummy, I want phone...!". Tears and all. Hugging my leg.
I went to his eye level, cuddled him. I realised it wasn't about the phone. It was more than that.
"Do you think mummy doesn't love you because I'm not giving you the phone?". I asked
"Yes!" he exclaimed. Nodding, crying, and he felt heard.
I checked in again; "Right now, do you feel loved, or unloved?"
"UNLOVED!" he shouted. More tears.
I held him tight. I cuddled him. I told him I loved him. And that the phone had nothing to do with whether I loved him or not. I just wanted to protect the phone.
In the next moment, he kissed me and went off playing.
As adults, we are not different. We unconsciously test those that we love.
Mastering unconditional love. A practice we learn through Motherhood.