The romantic notion of unconditional love should transcend to actions, decisions, and interactions that support the type of relationships we want for ourselves. We can all benefit from working on improving our relationships unconditionally, not necessarily just to love or be loved unconditionally.
The intentions and efforts to maintain a positive relationship with those we love should come without any conditions. We must understand that unconditional love is more than a concept or an idealistic destination. It should inspire us to uphold our commitment to face life's enjoyment and adversities with our loved ones. It grounds us to have realistic expectations from others and to grow and mature as individuals that form part of a group of relations.
Each one of us has a unique perspective of what love is, and how it can become unconditional. The greatest gift we receive in life is our potential to love others and to recognize that we are loved. This concept is a tool that empowers us to understand, accept and connect with others without asking them to become someone else.
And while it is a wonderful concept, there are lots of conditions placed on all areas of our lives and certainly on love. It is a deep desire to be the object of unconditional love and greatly generous to be the giver of unconditional love. It takes hits constantly in this busy, competitive and superficial society we live in. Here are a couple of examples of conditional love:
1. A parent sees their newborn child. Within a short period of time, they feel a deep connection and unconditional love for him. They want their child to feel that depth of love, but then the child grows and begins to demonstrate his own personality and preferences. Parents try to mold this little person to be a model citizen, who cares about others and is responsible for his actions. Confusion arises when the parents introduce the child to activities like sports, music, arts, etc., which may be the their interests yet may not be the child's. The child then feels not understood and that he is loved more when he is living the parent's passions. It gets tricky. Parents have a great challenge to respect the child's choices and gifts, which may not be the same as theirs. Added stress comes when parents feel judged by others when it comes to parenting.
2. You are in love with your spouse. That love grew with certain expectations, like behaviors, looks, goals, etc. Those expectations create conditions on love, affecting the long-term relationship. Understanding feelings and emotions when they come up, and being responsible for what is ours alone can make or break these important relationships.
If we don't feel unconditional love, can we give it? Certainly. Unconditional love begins with us. By letting go of our need to control, resist, or possess someone else, we can attain what it is we deeply want. Here's how:
To Give Unconditional love:
Allow yourself to get quiet in your thoughts about a person and situation and notice what is true about your feelings. Are you feeling controlling? Envious? Distancing?
2. Ask Why.
Why are you feeling this way? Get down to the bottom of the "why", by continuing to ask "why" until you have gotten to the simplest root of the reason you are feeling this way. It takes about 5 why's to get to the root of the real why.
3. Choose love over fear.
Now notice if you are coming from a place of fear or love. It is said that everything we do, think, or feel comes from either fear or love. When you come from fear, you are protecting (yourself or the other person), distancing, or resisting the person. Try choosing love. Notice how your body relaxes at the thought of love versus fear in any situation. Even while upset with someone for a good reason, when we drop into love, our real concern becomes clear to us and we are able to be loving to the other person in spite of our concerns. We address the issue instead of building walls around our true feelings, which complicates everything anyway.
By approaching life in this way, you are learning how to unconditionally love. The more you do this, the easier it gets because your brain is building new neural pathways, becoming second nature for you to use a loving approach in all relationships.
To Receive Unconditional Love:
Your behavior affects everyone in your life, so when you begin to love unconditionally, you are teaching others how to love unconditionally, too. So, you will be more likely to be on the receiving end of unconditional love as well.
For those of us who were not raised with unconditional love, it is our turn to be that best parent in our own life and give ourselves that deep, unconditional love... which is the greatest love of all.
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