Unconditional Love is one of those phrases that sounds so nice to say, and yet usually at that very moment we are expressing it, we don’t really mean it. Instead, that’s usually when we are placing conditions.
Here’s an example:
“You have to know that I love you unconditionally. You just have to.” In other words, the “unconditional” love is based on the condition that both parties acknowledge the love.
“I’m your mother, and I love you unconditionally. So don’t break my heart and drop out of school to become a bum.” Does she love unconditionally? Or is her measure of love based on the conditions that you remember your relationship dynamic, that you make sure to not do anything to “break her heart”, and that you definitely don’t become a bum?
How many conditions are you placing on the love that you give?
I’ve taken this thought to heart lately, as my life wasn’t quite working out, and I certainly did not feel any kind of love, especially the unconditional kind. I decided that I needed some introspection. I needed to uncover this thing that felt broken inside. My instincts pointed me to start with a hard look at what the late, great, Whitney Houston sang as being the “Greatest Love of All.”
You know the lyrics.
“Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.”
I needed to feel love again, and I remembered that it has to start with me being the one loving. It has to begin with loving myself.
My first order of business in loving myself, was deciding that my life was finally important enough to me, to not be bothered by what others do and say. I’ve learned, through living it, that putting the emphasis on the outside, and being concerned with what others said or did, just created a constant stream of conditions that had to be met before I could love myself. They had to say nice things about me, and do nice things for me, before I would feel happy with myself. I made them much more important than my own self.
Writing it out like this, clearly shows that this is not very loving of myself, conditional or otherwise. Can you relate?
Distilling this idea further, is that above all else I want to live a joyful life. Living a joyful life is the most loving way I can be to myself, and to everyone else. But in that quest for joy, I put myself right back into the habit of placing conditions on it.
These conditions go something like this:
I’ll finally feel joy once I have the right car, get a raise, achieve poreless skin, and find a way to live on cookies yet still keep a tight stomach.
These, and so many more random conditions, have been floating around in my imaginary rule book, as the prerequisites to be able to joyfully love my life. And yet, I’ve found that every time I get myself on the other side of achieving whatever requirement I’ve placed, I don’t quite feel the joy that I was counting on receiving.
It’s like I’ve decided that happiness comes in the form of arcade tokens that you win after meeting these arbitrary conditions. Yet the machine is always “out”, so you don’t ever get the tokens; and when you meet the conditions anyway, the conditions just move their invisible finish lines. I change my mind on what the right kind of car should be. Getting a raise suddenly means more taxes. Achieving poreless skin, upgrades to needing to maintain poreless skin for more that twenty-four hours. I’m not even going to touch that cookie fantasy.
I think the lesson here is: don’t make it about getting tokens to redeem for joy, because you’re never going to get enough tokens. (Just so we’re clear, these “tokens” are my 80’s kid analogy for “conditions.”)
You can’t get to joy by struggling along the way.
The way to joy, is to be joyful, regardless of conditions.
The way to feel Love with anyone, especially yourself, is to Love. Drop the conditions.
The conditions cause disappointment.
Conditional Love just never feels like Love feels. It’s a chore. It’s exhausting. It’s not even the long and winding road to eventual True Love and Joy. It’s just a long and winding road that will circle around the Love you want to feel, but it won’t quite get you there.
Just Love. Love yourself. Love others. Drop the conditions.
The only thing is, dropping the conditions will cost you your own sense of control. It will cost you the ability to dictate how hard you want to struggle. I think its worth the price to get to feel Unconditional Love.
There is much love here for you. ~ Foxzm