“The people who help us grow toward true self offer unconditional love . . . ” – Parker J. Palmer

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Quote of the Week

A perspective for you to think about, meditate on, journal on, take action on


The people who help us grow toward true self offer unconditional love, neither judging us to be deficient nor trying to force us to change but accepting us exactly as we are.  And yet this unconditional love does not lead us to rest on our laurels.  Instead, it surrounds us with a charged force field that makes us want to grow from the inside out – a force field that is safe enough to take risks and endure the failures that growth requires.   – Parker J. Palmer, from  A Hidden Wholeness

This quote, which came to me from the One Spirit Learning Alliance, immediately touched my heart because it describes my best relationships (romantic, platonic, familial), as well as what I provide to coaching clients.

Like Mr. Palmer, I find that feeling truly loved doesn’t stop most of us from growing or evolving; that it is in fact much easier to try new things and risk change when we have the safety net, support, and comfort provided by loving relationships.  We have an internal drive that keeps us moving forward, and the example of goodness provided by those who love us unconditionally encourages us to keep doing better.

What is this kind of love?  I like the definitions that Kate Braestrup offers for the Greek word agape and Latin word caritas.  To love with agape and caritas is  “to earnestly desire the achievement of wholeness by the beloved;” it “is unconditional, selfless, and self-giving.  It is love that is offered for the well-being of the beloved.”  (From Marriage and Other Acts of Charity.)  Ms. Braestrup points out that agape doesn’t mean “To give the gift of wholeness to the beloved,” or “To impose wholeness on the beloved;” each of us must create our own wholeness.  (Nor does it mean that we never criticize actions, offer suggestions, provide different perspectives, or disagree with the people we care about—All of which are necessary for true relationship.)  But as Mr. Palmer said, unconditional love—agape, caritas—helps us to do our work.

Who do you love unconditionally?  Do they know it?  Do your words and actions—day in and day out—communicate your caritas?

Who loves and supports you in this way?  How or why do you feel this agape?  How do these people demonstrate their longing for your wholeness, while accepting and loving who and how you are right now?


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Alexandra Marchosky
Alexandra Marchosky
I coach individuals and organizations to do and be better by more fully living their values.
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