Jan 23, 2023

Written by Valynne Underwood

Let me preface the first part of this blog with some background information.  I am a mom of one child.  A daughter.  I am very obsessed with her, proud of her, love being with her, and love her dearly.  She is everything to me.  One day, while in college, she declared she was going to get a tattoo.  Yes, I was that mom.  I didn’t want her to get one.  I said things to her like, “Why?”, “No!”, “Oh hell no!”, “Grandma and Grandpa will not like that!”, and the ultimate mother phrase, “Why would you do that to your beautiful, perfect skin that I created!”  I’ve always tried to be the kind of mom that always accepted her and not try to change her.  I tried to always remember to “act with love” when it came to her.  Well, when I realized what I was doing, I quickly shut my mouth and attempted to internally begin coming to acceptance with what was ultimately on the horizon for her.

We all know life is messy, and it is hard to continually be on your “A” game.  Throughout the years, I have been on a mission to figure out how to keep that “A” game going strong.  While hard to accomplish and still working on it, I have found what works for me is to find simplicity in life and always act with love.  There is a lot to say about finding simplicity in life, and I will address this in a future blog post.  However, acting in love has become a core belief for me, so read on.

Acting “in love” or “with love” has no romantic connotation.  Acting with love means that you perform with love, but the character in this performance called life, is YOU.  Ask yourself these questions:

Do you…

            Think with love

            Talk with love

            See with love

            Look with love

            Feel with love

            Hear with love

            Work with love

            Respond with love…

                        Act with love?

Acting with love involves exercising love in everything you do, all the time.  It’s very simple and all you have to do is to remember, there is love in all things.  For example, while at work today, you have a long meeting.  The person in charge of running the meeting has issues with timing, thus the reason for the long meeting.  This facilitator is also known to struggle with ego and a lack of common sense rendering the statistics of buy in from the presentation by colleagues a low percentile.  Addressing the meeting with a positive attitude has flown out the door before entering the room or arrived at work!  But, acting with love in this situation means to change thinking into something such as – “I will listen, with intent, to find one thing that resonates with me, and apply that one thing to my work practice.” Or, “It’s hard to be presenting to a group of non-listeners. I will be the one in the group showing attention and interest.”  Maybe you will resolve to keep your opinions of this presentation to yourself by not hopping on the express wagon of discontent making a collective effort letting your peers know, “There’s an idiot in our midst.”  Your opinion of your coworker may remain the same, but you have shown love for yourself by being an employee that is a team player.  Now your attentiveness may look convincing, but you can be secretively thinking what’s the on the menu for dinner, or what exactly does the rest of my work day need to look like in order to still be productive, and sometimes that’s okay.

Acting with love also can be being pulled over for a traffic infraction.  This is never fun and can be frustrating and even scary. Often times, being pulled over by the police makes one want to argue a strong point, like the rolling of the eyes when asked, “Do you know why you’ve been pulled over?” However, changing your actions to love would be to remember that the police officer is only doing a job.  You may not like what is happening, but you can question with dignity for yourself and the officer.  Yelling, resulting in harsh words is not in the wheel house of acting with love.  Be glad there are people working to uphold laws that enhance security.  Of course, if you disagree or the officer is operating on ego, there is always court.

Think about driving behind a slow driver and you have places to be.  There is no way to go around this light- footed pedal pusher; you are so annoyed!  Most people’s internal narrative is bad mouthing the lead car driver with comments like, “I bet it’s an old person.”  Or better yet, “a woman!” Some even make use of that special appendage in the middle of the hand that signifies their ability to count to one.  Changing to acting in love would look like, relaxing and understanding you are in this for just a few extra minutes; consider that the slow mover has another agenda with every right to be on the road as well as yourself and has the freedom to drive however they want; or bless them for giving you the opportunity to slow down and pay attention to traffic.   

How about the scenario of a cruel boss?  Acting with love appears as remaining calm, speaking your truth - if the situation calls for it, doing your job just a little better, or not mirroring their behaviors.  The boss scenario is a hard one, and it is difficult to make a cruel boss act as if you don’t have a target on your back.  These types of bosses are almost always dictators and not leaders.  Just love yourself may be the only answer, or find another job. 

Another situation, someone is yelling at you.  Your response? Love.  Love yourself and walk away, if you can.  Love yourself and give the yeller nothing but positive (love) responses.  I used to teach school.  One year I had a student whose parents were the worst.  Her mother was demeaning, vulgar, and always put fault on the teacher for her daughter’s poor behavior.  Every teacher dreaded interactions with this mom.  Towards the end of the year, the mother came to school.  My time of verbal execution was here.  Hot headed mama was looking for me.  Her foul mouth reached every ear throughout the entire building.  When she located me, boy did she leash the most hateful verbiage I had ever encountered.  It doesn’t happen very often, but on a rare occasion my mind, mouth and actions connect in such a way that I amaze myself.  Once she came up for air from verbal slander, I calmly responded, “Please don’t talk to me that way.”  I then closed the three-step distance between us, reached my arms out and embraced her.  She immediately started crying.  Needless to say, events went well with her that day.

Do you have a sibling and you aren’t getting along? Responding with love when you don’t agree with them means they can speak or act on their truth, but it doesn’t mean it is your truth, and you do not have to agree.  Just remember to keep your responses and actions with them direct yet kind. 

And this one, your kids are driving you crazy; these little darlings are on your last nerve for whatever reason.  The desire to yell is fervent, so is sending them to their room with only bread and water for a week, maybe even to spank them, or to put an ad out with the intent to find their real parents because you surely didn’t raise your kids to be this way!  To act in love at this time would be to first-take a breath or two.  Then remember they are young and have so much to learn.  Their brains are still developing, and they need to feel the security of love in the midst of all this undeveloped chaos.  You wouldn’t allow anyone, mama bear, to be unkind to your child so why would it be alright for you to do so?

The bottom line is that you choose who you want to be, what you want to do. Decide to choose acting with love.  Are you the Wicked Witch of the Workplace or the Winsome Work Woman; Slow Speeding Steve or Finger Flashing Fred; Brian’s Bitchy Brother or Kevin’s Cool Kin? Are you the “Clean up on aisle 3” or the zesty Welcome to Walmart Woman? 

Back to the story of the dreaded tattoo.  My husband and I recently changed our yearly Hawaii trip to one 6 hours from home.  It was really hard for me to refrain from shoving my Aloha spirit up a body cavity of my choice as he was the culprit in the final decision making of this trip. I struggled to act with love, the thought came to me that the difficult part of the alternative trip was this trip was too similar with our daily views and weekend routines.  The best way to combat this? Do something that would make this mundane trip something out of the ordinary.  It had to be big, it had to represent something to myself and him.  I did what I always do, I thought of my daughter.  She got a tattoo…why don’t we? The picture below says it all for us.

Carry on with love - Valynne

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