by Walter E. Jacobson
When a child feels ignored, neglected and unloved because Mommy is spending more time with his little baby brother, and the child acts out, throws a glass against the wall and shatters it, it is not because he is evil or bad.
It is because he wants to get Mommy’s attention, he wants to get Mommy’s love, but he doesn’t know how to ask for it appropriately, so he asks for it in a confused, violent, aggressive way.
It is a call for love, and the best response Mommy can give to her child is to be understanding, compassionate, forgiving and loving, not angry, abrasive and punishing.
As we grow up and become adults, most of us still behave in the same way we did when we were infants. Hungry for love and feeling minimized, ignored, abandoned, unloved and unappreciated, we act out with our loved ones, attacking them in various ways.
Rather than saying, “I’m feeling insecure. I need your attention. I need your love. I need a hug,” we yell, we hit, we break things, we drink and drug too much, we drive our cars into trees.
At the next level are those who do the more horrendous acting out behaviors in their calling out for love, by mutilating and killing themselves or by mutilating and killing others.
It’s all a continuum, a matter of degrees. It’s all a variation of the same theme: love or a call for love, in which case, the response should always be the same: when someone is calling out for love, we look past their behaviors and we do our best to give it to them.
In terms of the people in this world who do horrific things, this doesn’t mean they should not be held responsible for their actions. It doesn’t mean we condone their behaviors. It doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences.
What it does mean is that we should let go of our harsh judgments and rage in the process.
Let’s look at this at a level that can perhaps be better understood and tolerated by our mind: If we need to go to court to resolve a divorce settlement, we don’t need to go in with anger. We can go in with calm and be just as effective, if not more so. We can get what we feel we need and deserve, but without all the aggression, judgment and animosity. We do this for our own healing, for our own peace of mind.
Everything is a choice that starts in the mind. If we choose fear, what we’ll get is fear, anxiety, depression, anger and aggression, within and without, in all its horrific and terrifying forms.
If we choose love, we will see a world transforming within and without. And we will observe miracles happening, because miracles are the natural expression of unconditional love and forgiveness.
Walter E. Jacobson, M.D. is a board certified psychiatrist, motivational speaker, and author of Forgive to Win! His primary goal is to help people build their self esteem, overcome self sabotage, and get what they want in life. To find out more about Dr. Jacobson visit his official site.
Image courtesy of KKFreshmeat.