How can you choose love in moments of anger or resentment?
The answer is simple.
Let me show you with a story…
My mom and I talked on the phone and agreed to meet at Panera for dinner at 6 PM, in 30 minutes. That would give me enough time to wrap up at work and give my mom enough time to feed her dogs.
I was hungry. My mouth watered just thinking about my favorite salad—the one with a bed of greens piled high with avocado, roasted turkey, tomato, bacon, feta cheese, and red onion.
In addition to the tasty food, I was also looking forward to seeing my mom. Though I worked just a few miles from her home—the childhood home I grew up in—we really didn’t see each other as often as we would have liked. It was nice to connect for a few hours over a meal when it worked with our schedules.
I arrived before she did. I went into the restaurant and watched for her out the window wondering where she was. My growling stomach was wondering what was taking so long.
After waiting 10 minutes or so, I decided to order without her. She should have already been there. Maybe she got delayed or couldn’t find a parking spot, I thought. I decided to not let my mind wander and make up stories that something was wrong. After all, it was common for my mom to be late.
I placed my order and found a table for us.
A few minutes later, my “food’s ready” pager started buzzing, so I headed to the counter. As I grabbed my tray of food, I glanced around for my mom again. She still wasn’t there. I sat back down at the table to wait, my patience beginning to thin.
A few more minutes passed before I decided to start eating without her. I told myself I would eat slowly so she and I could still eat together.
Finally, she arrived. She smiled and waved at me, clearly happy to see me. She sat down at the table, told me she’d ordered her meal, and acted like nothing had happened. No apology for being late. No explanation as to why. Nothing. She just acted like she was happy to see me.
How dare her!
I was angry that she was late and didn’t communicate with me.
She was chatting away like no big deal, and I could feel myself seething inside because—once again—my mom was late. She was always late. Late for family get-togethers. Late for birthday parties. Late to holiday meals.
We were both equal distance from the restaurant, and there was no reason why she couldn’t show up on time like we’d agreed. So why was she late? Again!
My mom was still innocently chatting away like nothing had happened. No big deal. Still no apology or any type of acknowledgment that she was late.
In that moment I realized my mind was so negative, going back in time to point out my mom’s fault of being late. It was chatting away making her out to be some horrible person that I should have been angry with for not showing up on time.
I stopped this negative chatter in its tracks. I knew that’s not how I wanted to BE with my mom. I didn’t want to sit and be angry while eating a meal together. I had been looking forward to connecting, and I really wanted to enjoy dinner and conversation with her, not sit in anger seething at her every word.
As I stopped, I took a deep breath in, and for just a moment I imagined sparkling red hearts coming out of my heart, floating across the table, and entering her heart. I was sending her love. Right in the moment. I didn’t announce it. She didn’t even know I was doing anything. I just did it.
And it changed everything.
The power of that simple act of sending my mom love in that moment instantly shifted me and my whole experience.
Just a minute or two earlier I couldn’t even hear her because I was so upset inside. I didn’t even want to talk to her because I was angry with her for being late. And now MY whole demeanor shifted. I was no longer angry at my mom for anything.
My ears opened up and I was able to listen to her. The crappy chatter stopped in my head. My insides calmed down. And for the first time since my mom arrived, I was truly happy to see her. It no longer even mattered that she was late.
I could have gotten hung up on expecting her to apologize for being late. I could have stayed angry. I could have started yelling at her and berating her for being late again. But why? What’s the point of that? What would have happened next? Nothing good would have come from that.
Choosing to respond with love rather than reacting with anger kept our dinner focused on connecting with each other. It allowed us to make the most of our time together.
It wasn’t necessarily the easiest choice to make, but it sure was simple.
What you give out is what you get back. When you find yourself in a challenging moment, why not choose love?
Give it a try.
Click here to learn How to Actually Send Love (And Not Just Say it)
Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below.