Unconditional Love: Fact OR Fiction?
Complete love, to love without limits, loving without expectation of benefit. Those are some descriptions given to the term unconditional love. It is the standard of love in religion, the love of God for His creation. The measure of love between family, parents always say that they love their children unconditionally no matter how much they screw up. It is easier to visualize unconditional love in those contexts. Is it possible for it to exist in a romantic relationship? That is the million dollar question. It is hard enough figuring out what love is, and differentiating it from infatuation and lust. Emotion seems to be humanity’s curse that it cannot escape from. Humans are hardwired to be emotional creatures. Ironically, it is the very same quality that makes us who we are, what it separates us from animals, what it makes us superior beings. The very thing that we struggle so much to understand.
Difference between Unconditional Love and Love
Unconditional love is different from love in that it is not just a feeling. It is more than that. It putting love in action. Transferring it from abstraction and creating it in the material. Love happens, but unconditional love is a choice to love somebody, to do things for them for their benefit and not because you expect the favour to be returned. Almost seems impossible does it not? Well, not really. The first step to finding unconditional love is, quit thinking that it is an emotion. It is not. It’s the display of the feeling of love. A simple gesture like being a shoulder to lean on, a comfort during tumultuous times, a listening ear, a surprise gift that will cheer up your partner or a simple ‘have a good day’ note on your own initiative.
It is the thought that counts. The fact that you were willing to go out of your way to show the person that you love that love is not just enough. It is the kind of action that will make them say, ‘it is just what I needed’. However, unconditional love should not be confused with turning a blind eye. It is not protecting no matter what.
Qualities of Unconditional Love
Honesty is one of the pillars of unconditional love. It is saying no when it needs to be said just like in true friendship. Encouraging real happiness and reprimanding when it needs to be done. One other thing, unconditional love should not just be viewed in the context of showing love for others. Just like it can be love for a supernatural being, it can also be love for oneself. Loving yourself unconditionally is doing what is best for you in a situation. If you think that finding the bottom of scotch bottle is all you do, unconditional love for yourself enables you to check yourself into rehab. It is all about being there for you. It is allowing yourself to be happy, doing the things that make you happy and letting go of the things, and people that don’t.
Forgiveness is another pillar of unconditional love. Forgiveness is seen as a means to spiritual peace by most religions of the world, life coaches and even psychologists. It is said that it lifts off unwanted emotional burden. Forgiving people that have done or said things that hurt us is another way of showing unconditional love especially in a romantic relationship where things can go south really fast if couples keep score of each other’s misgivings. The simple trick is, just let go and let love. Habouring so much anger and negativity only leads to emotional turmoil and unnecessary end to good partnerships.
Finding unconditional love looks like a lot of work, which is why it is important to let yourself enjoy the benefits of unconditional love that you have shown to the people around you. Giving yourself a pat in the back for the little things you do and say that puts a smile in another person’s face is totally allowed. If you are a philanthropist sharing part of your hard earned resources with the less fortunate in society or working as a volunteer in home for the old, you ought to be proud of yourself as part of embracing unconditional love. However, it is very important to draw the line between embracing unconditional love as a way of life and being a people pleaser which negates the notion of loving yourself unconditionally. This is why it is important to have conditional relationships because it helps to define limits and boundaries. It is obvious that human beings can tend to take advantage of nice people. So if that homeless person you give change to uses it for a pack of cigarettes rather than for food, there is no shame in drawing the line. If your spouse does not seem to appreciate your gestures of love, it might be wise to cut your losses.