Tough Love

Tough Love

Posted by Laura Clark Barefoot, Ph.D.Barefoot Chaplain Intervention Services, December 26, 2016

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:7

Love never fails. Risk usually does. We are, now more than ever, a society which seeks out immediate gratification, oftentimes at great risk. Risk of loss, of hurting those we care about, and at the risk of our very health and well being. We want what we want, and we want it now. Play now, pay later. If no one saw, it didn’t happen.

Strings are always attached to immediate gratification and self satisfaction. Overeat, and we pay the price. Drive 45 in a 15 mph zone, and someone might lose their life, refuse to wear a coat in outdoor freezing temps and catch a cold. You get the drift.

As, both, a Clinical Interventionist and a Chaplain, crisis is a place I am familiar with, a destination none of us care to visit. Sometimes, we foresee the arrival, other times we are surprised it even arrived at all. Why surprised? Well, we’re caught off guard, caught up in the risk.

Our answer to get back on track when we have “failed” is to, usually, ignore the consequences and try to win a hand in a losing game again, and again. We want the simple answer, and an easy solution. There is only one solution, and the sooner we accept it, the more satisfied we become. Surrender.

Someone once told me, unconditional love is nonexistent. She believed love had conditions. Her opinion on the subject was in regards to taking responsibility within the context of relationship, or the consequence for selfishness would most often result in failed relationship. It sounded, and seemed accurate. However, that kind of belief is based upon, and founded in ego. So, again, I offer an answer…Surrender.

Of course, during a crisis situation we should react according to the best, and safest solution for everyone involved. Attending to an automobile accident with an attitude of physical surrender, someone might suffer unnecessarily. What I am saying is, in each and every situation, the best outcome is the one which we have entered into thought for the highest, the truest, the best. Unselfish love for another. Unconditional love for another. One which is initially founded in a love for ourselves. Admittedly, it doesn’t come easily. Practice may not make perfect, but, it does tend to make what we practice become more natural. Through surrender, we can, and do arrive at being better, and better.

A proponent of tough love, I am not. Clear, well defined boundaries, founded upon a rock of solid unconditional love, absolutely. The stakes are high, but, the payoff is almost always guaranteed. We may not receive immediate gratification, but, ultimate reward does present in its time, at the perfect time.

Perfect.   Unconditional.   Surrender.

These three things are not subject to variation. Less, to nearly no risk, and we receive the best possible outcome…Guaranteed.

surrender

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