Unconditional love. A beautiful concept, but what does it really mean?
It is really very simple: It means to love someone or something completely and utterly, regardless of how the beloved party acts, behaves, responds or otherwise treats you back.
This can be fairly easy to do towards recipients that are easy to love like a cat, a cupcake or a small child. The real test for most lies in unconditionally loving adult human beings, ourselves included, being that no one among us ever will be perfect in every way thinkable to us.
The ultimate challenge is to love one’s romantic partner unconditionally, especially in a society where separating is always a viable option. Many would claim to love their partner unconditionally but how many really, really mean it? How many will keep loving their partner after having been betrayed in the worst thinkable way? If you are not willing to forgive any action from your partner, then (I’m sorry to break it to you) your love for your partner is based on one or countless conditions, and is therefore not unconditional.
“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is” – Marianne Williamson.
Marianne Williamson sums it up beautifully here, I think. Every single person we meet is going to have sides that we are not too crazy about (or darkness, if you will) if we knew about them. Loving someone regardless of their dark sides is what I call unconditional love.
But doesn’t this mean that we would settle for less? Doesn’t this condone unacceptable behaviour? Wouldn’t forgiving betrayal set a poor standard for similar escapades in the future?
It could and it probably would if we were forgiving from a place of fear. Fear of not deserving a faithful partner, fear of being alone and fear of being abandoned. I am however not talking about forgiving someone for fear of these things. Forgiveness must come from a place of love, and more specifically love for yourself. You don’t forgive because someone else deserves it, you forgive because you deserve to be free of whatever was done to you.
It may sound paradoxical but loving unconditionally is the ultimate empowerment in the romantic department. Why? Because the other person has no power over your feelings for them. That power lies in you. You are the one who decides who and when to love. And when not to love. No one but you can and should be responsible for your happiness. When we humans realize that the complete power to decide our reactions rests within each and every one of us, that is when we find true freedom to be who we really are.
As a species we are diligently trained to react in very specific ways to a lot of specific things. And deviations from society’s norms are sadly not regarded as a sign of strength. If I hit you, then you should hit me back. Or at least yell, get pretty angry or possibly send someone in your place to reciprocate. If I say something nice to you, you are supposed to swell with joy or else you are arrogant. Who is really in charge in these situations? Well, it is certainly not you. I say, take your power back! Only when you decide if and how you want to react to other people and stop depending on default programming, only then will you be free of other people’s power over you.
To my future partner I want to say the following: My happiness does not depend on you, so you’re off the hook. I can never be happy because of you, but I will love to be happy together with you. Although I may not love what you are doing every moment of our time together, I will always try to see you as who you really are – not as you are in this moment. Quite frankly, I love you so much I don’t care what you think.
Terms and conditions do not apply.