What is unconditional love?
Unconditional love means to love someone no matter what life throws at us. Caring about another’s happiness without demanding any benefits for yourself. Loving someone, because they can give you what you want, is not unconditional love.
Unconditional love also means accepting another person as they are, for who they are, including their shortcomings, faults and weaknesses. Having and expressing affection for someone without reservations or conditions.
Key considerations to a life of unconditional love include:
Loving someone under any circumstance is the highest test of unconditional loving. This requires an unconditional love of yourself first which gives you the strength to give the same to another human being.
If you are a People Pleaser, you are typically more interested in giving love to others than to yourself. If you are constantly trying to please others, then you lack self-love. Give yourself unconditional love first and the rest will come.
Love can sometimes be uncomfortable. To really love someone, it is necessary to take the good with the bad and the rough with the smooth. Unconditional love requires that you let the person you love experience their own pain. Letting them mature at their own pace and finding their own way. Protecting someone from experiencing discomfort is not a sign of unconditional love.
Learn forgiveness. Don’t let someone use you as a door mat. Make a choice to react in a better, kinder way. If someone lets you down or hurts you, chose forgiveness. This isn’t easy but it can be done by releasing the anger and resentment you have towards them.
Show love to those who you feel don’t deserve it. Remember that, usually when a person is negative towards you or about you, it means that they typically lack something in their life which prevents them from loving themselves.
Practice unconditional love every day with a simple act. Give something and don’t expect anything in return. Show courtesy to someone or let another car in front of you in traffic. Tell someone you love them without expecting to hear it back in return.
Fear inhibits love and creates doubts and worries like:
(a) fear that we (or our partners) must do everything 100% right to qualify as unconditional love
(b) fear that we (or our partners) can’t ask for what we need to qualify as unconditional love
(c) fear that we (or our partners) can’t experience any conflict to qualify as unconditional love
Steps towards unconditional love
We first need to learn graciousness and to forgive our own mistakes. We must learn from our mistakes and realize that it is incorrect to believe that, ‘mistakes are bad and shouldn’t happen’. We must accept that, ‘we all make mistakes and that’s alright’.
Secondly, we need to understand that everyone’s life experience is different. Their unique life experience frames the way they see the world and everyone in it. Each of us sees life through a ‘filter’ that we have developed during our life.
Understand that unconditional love is more of a behavior than a feeling
Ask yourself, “Am I truly acting with the most love than I can for this person at this particular moment?
Tell the truth in a kind and gentle way, with no judgement
Understand that forgiving others is probably the most difficult unconditional act. Let go of anger and resentment. Harboring unforgiving energy is hurtful to you both spiritually and physically.
Realize that every mistake is an opportunity to practice love and grace
We are conditioned to give love only when we are reciprocated. Unconditional love is not a loan needing to be repaid. It is a gift with no ‘strings’ (expectations) attached.
The feelings and emotions of Love and Gratitude have the highest vibrations. If you want to raise your personal vibration, pursue both love and gratitude in your life.
Other characteristics of unconditional love
Love is not a weapon. Use of certain phrases like, “If only you could __________, then I would love you,” dangles a carrot in hopes of personal gain. That is not love. For someone who sees relationships strictly in terms of what they can receive, they use emotional manipulation like this as a coping mechanism.
It’s okay to ask for things you need and it’s okay to say, “No.” All of us has every right to ask for what we need and desire. Our partner has every right to refuse. The trick is to love them anyway.
Sometimes love means leaving. Unconditional love doesn’t mean that we always stick together. Sometimes it means recognizing that, while we still love one another, we no longer serve each other’s best interest. Breakups are very painful but they also create a true opportunity to practice love without conditions.
Love is not available in a limited supply but is abundant. Love is limitless and it increases with use. When we treat love like it is in limited supply that reduces with use, fear is quick to cause love to fall apart.
Some signs that you have found unconditional love
- When you admit your failings and your partner doesn’t judge or shame you
- You can tell the truth, even when it is uncomfortable
- When you hurt each other, you quickly seek restitution and trust rebuilding
- You don’t pick fights over petty things or hold grudges
- When arguing, you respect each other and pursue a healthy resolution
- You don’t feel the need to prove yourself, or your love, to your partner
- You can let your guard down and be totally yourself with your partner
- You celebrate each other’s successes
- Your partner encourages you to pursue your passions and stands behind you
- You bring out the best in each other and can both be yourself when together
- You respect each other, especially when you disagree or let each other down
- Neither of you withholds love or affection to get what you want
- You are patient and compassionate with your partner when they’re going through a rough time and know not to take their temporary bad mood personally
There is a lot of information out there on unconditional love. We all need to establish our own understanding of it and how to successfully practice it in our life.
There is so much we can all learn from sharing our thoughts, knowledge and experience with each other. Please consider adding your thoughts, comments and experiences at the end of this blog post.