Unconditional Love Is Real, But You Won't Be Able To Experience It Unless You Love Yourself First

Photo: Sarandy Westfall via Unsplash
What Is Unconditional Love? How To Practice Self Love So You Can Also Find A Good Relationship
Love, Self

By Theo Harrison

When we love someone without any expectations or thinking about what we can get in return from that individual, then it becomes true and unconditional love.

Nowadays, dating may feel like a struggle to most people as with every passing day we feel that relationships are getting more and more complicated.

However, love is actually a lot simpler.

Unconditional love may seem like a Buddhist way of loving an individual, but in reality, it simply means true love.

RELATED: What Real-Life Unconditional Love Looks Like In The Best Relationships

In this era of Instagram and Snapchat, where we put excessive pressure on living the perfect life, we have made our relationships far more complicated than they need to be.

As a result, we have corrupted our feelings of love with expectations, insecurities, and codependency.

When we love someone unconditionally, we care about their happiness and well-being without any demands.

Unconditional love in a way begins with true love for ourselves.

What is unconditional love?

Unconditional love is a simple feeling where you care for the other without having any expectations.

This can be easier said than done.

It is basic human nature to expect, especially from loved ones, and this can create cracks in our relationships, which can go unnoticed.

Unconditional love is selfless and offers happiness, even through sacrifice, if needed.

When you love the other person, even when your dreams and plans regarding the relationship are not met, then you can reach a level of love and affection where there will be no pain.

Letting go of expectations and your perception of the perfect relationship will lead to a happier life for both of you.

If you love someone depending on certain factors like what they can do for you, then it is conditional love. 

The act of loving an individual irrespective of the circumstances is unconditional love.

It means accepting them as they are without trying to change them.

However, unconditional love does not mean being in a toxic relationship or tolerating abuse, betrayal, disrespect, or hurtful behavior in a relationship.

To love a person unconditionally, you should start by loving yourself without any conditions.

Self-love will enable you to develop the mental and emotional strength needed to love another person without wanting anything in return.

In essence, unconditional is simply true love consisting of understanding and respect for yourself and your partner.

However, unconditional love does not necessarily mean that you don’t need your partner to love you or support you when you need it.

It only means that you are not dependent on someone else to feel happiness inside. 

This state of love can only be cultivated through a solid sense of self-respect, self-love and self-confidence.

Love unconditionally to build stronger relationships

Loving someone unconditionally is a feeling that requires us to expose our weaknesses and vulnerabilities to someone with a strong belief that we want our partner to be happy, irrespective of the outcome.

It is more about how you make the other person feel, instead of how you feel when they are with you.

In this age, unconditional love can be an alien concept to us.

So, it is crucial that we are sincere with our feelings and observe our thoughts regarding the other person.

Are your feelings for this person genuine? Does your love depend on certain factors?

Can your ego result in certain situations that may hurt the person you love?

RELATED: 11 Real Ways You Can Show Unconditional Love Every Day

Can you love someone unconditionally?

Loving someone unconditionally is not going to be easy for anyone, unless it comes from the inside. 

If you are protecting your partner or the person you love from challenges and hardships, if you are preventing them from making mistakes and learning from them, if you are overprotective and keeping them from the difficulties of life, then you surely don’t love them unconditionally. 

Life is hard and we all need to face challenges to grow and move forward.

When you prevent them from experiencing what life has in store for them, then you are robbing them of all the experiences they are meant to have.

Defending them against certain feelings and experiences simply because you don’t want to see them suffer will not help them in anyway.

Telling your loved one the truth, guiding, and helping them to face difficulties and communicating with kindness and without any judgment to help them grow is true love.

Unconditional love means loving and accepting the other person as they are without feeling the need to mold them into your perception of what they should be. 

When you understand this subtle difference, you will realize how truly unique they are and you'll build a loving relationship.

It is only when you love them they way they are, that they will be able to accept and love you the way you are.

This is the foundation of a lasting romantic relationship.

Understanding unconditional love is one thing, but actually developing the feeling is a completely different story.

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Although unconditional love can be a bit hard to achieve, you can surely feel it with a little practice.

It can be difficult to love an individual unconditionally, especially when that feeling is not reciprocal.

Here are a few helpful ways to practice unconditional love and develop a mutually happy relationship.

1. Love yourself unconditionally first

First things first - love yourself.

The importance of self-love simply cannot be overemphasized as this is the secret to unconditional love.

Loving someone else can be easier than loving yourself. 

Unless you know how to love yourself without any condition, you will never be able to love others unconditionally. 

Why? If your feelings and happiness are dependent on how much your partner loves you or how much attention you get from them, then it will always be conditional.

So, start by giving yourself the love you wish to receive and give others.

2. Think of love as a behavior, not an emotion

Imagine this, your partner takes you out on a romantic date or takes you on a vacation to Hawaii.

You will surely feel loved and love them more in return.

However, if they cancel the plan at the last moment without any notice, will it affect the way you feel about them?

Can it change your behavior towards them?

If yes, then you know your love is conditional.

However, if you act in a specific way with your partner regardless of how they behave or what they do for you, then your emotions and behavior will be in your control and will not affect your relationship. 

When your love is not dependent on the actions of the other person, you will be able to love unconditionally.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Show Unconditional Love Without Being A Total Doormat

3. Choose to love unconditionally

When it comes to love, there is no one philosophy or belief that will apply to all of us.

As we are all unique individuals, we all have unique relationships with exceptional experiences and challenges. 

When you consciously choose and decide to love your someone unconditionally, there is a mental shift in your mindset. 

This allows you to gain a whole new perspective and face relationship challenges in a different way.

You will learn something new about yourself and your partner every single day.

4. Accept that love can be painful

True love can hurt sometimes.

In fact, the harder you love, the harder you may experience pain.

Hence, you should be able to accept the fact that loving someone will not always be all sunshine and rainbows.

There will also be dark clouds, lightning, thunder, and rain.

When you accept this truth of life and still decide to give the other person all the love in your heart, then you will be able to love unconditionally.

We learn from pain and grow stronger every time we overcome it.

When you accept how they feel about you and still shower them with love, you will find peace and happiness within yourself.

5. Learn to forgive

Unconditional love is not about tolerating abuse or cheating. 

But, you need to accept that we are only human and we make a lot of mistakes in life, especially in relationships.

So when your partner makes a mistake, instead of following your instincts and letting your emotions control you, make sure you first try to understand where they are coming from.

Empathy will allow you to understand their side of the story and react in a more mature, kinder, and better way that will further strengthen your bonding.

If you have been hurt or disappointed by the person you love, start by letting go of your expectations, healing yourself, and forgiving them. 

Forgiveness will empower you, while letting go of your anger and own limiting beliefs will set you free.

When you choose to let go of negative emotions and react in a loving and respectful manner, you will learn to love unconditionally.

6. Experience love in its purest form

You can develop a special and unique relationship with the person you love when you choose to let go of expectations and just enjoy being in love.

This will help you build a strong foundation that will be free of insecurities and possessiveness.

Your love will become pure and genuine and not dependent on satisfying your own desires and interests.

Do not try to modify or change the person of your affection.

When you love them through acceptance and compassion, you will experience love in a completely new light that will amaze you.

RELATED: What It Really Means To Love Someone Unconditionally

Theo Harrison is a writer who focuses on love, relationships, and dating. For more of his love content, visit his author profile on The Mind's Journal.

This article was originally published at The Mind's Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.