The Evolution of Hugs and Kisses
You want what?
I remember it well [fade up flashback music]. We were at a family function and one family member asked the little one, around two-years-old at the time, "Can I have a kiss?" She shook her head to say, "No." We talked about it and wondered why most adults ask children for kisses and hugs instead of just giving them. We figured it’s the habit, handed down from generation to generation, of looking for love outside ourselves. We also decided it was going to stop right there. Then and there we decided we were going to ask if we could give our children hugs and kisses and be okay with it if they declined. Isn’t there enough for everyone?
I didn’t realize it at the time but I guess it really comes down to this: our culture has taught us that love is something we need to get, that there isn’t enough for everyone. Therefore, we go out of our way to get love in whatever way we find acceptable. And, we are taught, before we give any love we should get love, thereby making sure we have all we need before we risk running out. It’s similar to Zig Zigler’s analogy of standing in front of a fireplace and saying, "Give me some fire and I’ll put on some logs." It isn’t going to happen. The logs have to go in before the fire can even start. The reality of love is that there’s plenty for everyone all the time and all we have to do to get it is to give it, unconditionally.
I realized just the other day there’s another step in the evolution of hugging and kissing our children and others: asking if we can share a hug and a kiss. So now I offer to share hugs and kisses with my children. Sometimes they say no but I don’t pout or try to make then change their minds. They’re expressing their individuality and I rejoice in their person-hood. Who knows, someday we may discover another step in the evolution of hugs and kisses. Right now I’m content to practice this one and raise children whose personal preferences are honored and respected.
What is love, anyway?
Love, in its highest form, is Divine Love. When you love everyone and everything in the Universe, unconditionally, that is Divine love, which is True love. And there is an infinite amount of True love, so there really is enough love for everyone. Remember, the more you give away the more you have. Unconditional love is the only way.
We are all one
Consider that we are all one. We are all part of the same body, different parts, but a part of the whole. If I hold back unconditional love from even one part of me, I am holding back from loving all of me, and that keeps me from experiencing Divine love. If my love is conditional, it isn’t love.
Perpetuating the problem
The problem gets perpetuated and acerbated with the messages we receive from the time we are young children. It starts with, “Give me a kiss.” Over the years we reinforce what “love” is by what we read to them, what we say to them, what our Valentine’s cards tell them and the way we as parents interact. And what we are teaching them usually isn’t Divine love. I don’t know how to say this or why this article is so difficult for me to write (I have been Divinely commissioned to write this before Valentine’s Day, so go figure) but what we are teaching our children isn’t True love. We are really teaching them conditional “love”.
Valentine’s Day cards
Just think about the Valentine cards you’ve received in the past: “I love you because of all the things you do for me”; “I love you for how you make me feel”; “I need you”; and the infamous “What would I do without you?” These don’t sound like the messages of unconditional love, do they?
Now picture the messages in romantic movies. A young couple falls in “love” and to be apart causes them “pain”. “I can’t live without you” is a common line. Hmmm, sounds like an addiction to me, how about you? And when the relationship finally does come to an end how do the lovers feel? They usually feel pain. Wow! That’s a definite sign of an addiction. As Eckhart Tolle tells us in The Power of Now, “All addictions start with pain and end with pain.” I don’t think it can be made any plainer: in the beginning young love can’t live apart (or they feel pain) and at the end they are in pain because they have to live apart. And movies are just a reflection of what happens in relationships in the “real” world anyway.
These have the same messages and story lines as the movies except they usually end while the lovers are still “in love”. Try ending a book without a happy ending and it won’t sell as well, unless you’re Hans Christian Andersen, of course. Even the band who wrote and performed a muscial based on one of his stories had a happy ending.
This is probably the biggest one. The next time you have the radio on listen, I mean really listen to the words. I think you’ll be surprised. All the same messages from the books and movies are being expressed, to music, in great depth and feeling. Then think about how most of us listen to music the majority of our waking hours. We get them “stuck” in our head and repeat them over and over like mantra thus reinforcing the ideas. We are literally programming our minds to expect conditional love in our relationships. In our world of duality the message is that it’s normal to love a person one minute and hate them the next. Again, from The Power of Now, “How can you love your partner one minute and hate them the next? True love has not opposite. If your love has an opposite it isn’t love” (I’m paraphrasing.)
How to find love
Where can Divine love be found? Fortunately it’s close, it’s inside each one of us. All we have to do is love everyone in our life, including ourselves, unconditionally. You may ask how I do that. I’m still working on it myself. I guess that’s why this article was so challenging for me to write. What I found is that I need to take care of myself in order to create a fertile ground for unconditional love to be the norm in my life and this was just confirmed for me on page eight, “Really Love Yourself” of the book Wonderful Ways to Love a Child. “Loving yourself is the basis for all that is beautiful and meaningful in the human experience…”
Eliminate stress and irritability
That means I keep myself from being irritable by taking care of myself and doing what I need for myself. I do this by daily practice of the Heart Breathing from the book Transforming Stress; eliminating sugar (this is huge!) and other processed and mood altering foods from my diet; exercising regularly, endorphins are a great stress reducer and eliminator; getting enough sleep so that I’m not tired and irritable during the day; drinking enough water since dehydration can make you tired; and meditating regularly. There are other things that I have done in the past, can do now and plan to do in the future. I especially like going out with my friends regularly and having a “date” with myself once a week as recommended in Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. So find what eliminates your stress and irritability and make the change.
Now this one I’m still working on. If you watch violent movies and/or play violent video or computer games I strongly suggest you eliminate those from your life to eliminate anger. It really puts one in an unreal space and, I think, alters their consciousness into a place that we really don’t want to be. Doing all of the things above helps eliminate anger too but not as much as practicing the methods in the book, Transforming Anger by the same people who wrote Transforming Stress. I’ve seen the methods of the Transforming Anger book in action and it is amazing! I’m still amazed when I think about it. I am starting to read this book, and incorporate the methods now. Thanks to my mother for giving me both these transformational books.
(Can you just imagine what that phrase means?) When we are working to change an undesirable habit in our lives we move through all the stages mentioned in Customer Service Over the Phone. So start listening to what you say to yourself and everyone else. When you say something that that comes from conditional love just rephrase it to reflect your desired mind-set of unconditional love. Soon the words that come out of your mouth, and the words you speak to yourself, will automatically come from unconditional love. Persistence and patience is the key to conscious competence, and feelings of unconditional love for everyone is the reward.
Back to love
True love is not outside us. It’s inside us waiting to be shared with others, which is what makes it grow. So, if you feel you need love, give love unselfishly, unconditionally, for the sheer joy of it and it will come back to you a thousand fold. And seeing everyone as having enough love will definitely make a huge difference.
We could say the evolution of hugs and kisses has gone from thinking there isn’t enough love to go around to realizing there’s lavish, abundant, unlimited Divine love everywhere at all times for everybody. Now isn’t that something worth teaching our children?
So write your own Valentine’s Day card
I’m writing mine to reflect how I feel, within the parameters of where I am in my life and on my journey and keeping in mind where my husband is in his life and on his journey. If you are writing it out long-hand I suggest you write it out on unlined paper first so you know how long it will be in the card and can allow for that amount of space so you don’t wind up writing on the back of the card or having to start over and waste a card.
My Valentine’s Day card for Martin, my husband
"I’m glad you’re my partner on this segment of my journey through life. I enjoy growing and knowing you’ll be here on the other side of what I’m going through. Your patience over the years has truly been a blessing. You know I’m here for you, too. Being with you has taught me how to get over my fears and face new challenges while standing in my power. I appreciate, and am grateful that you accept me for who I am and encourage me and support me in making my dreams come true. Thank you for working with me to use our relationship to grow and change into the grandest version of the greatest vision of who we want to be. I care about you and love you the best that I can. One day I will love you with the unconditional love of Divine love. Until then, know that I care for you very deeply as I know you care for me."