Love is one of the greatest gifts we have to give to others and to receive. Unconditional love is rare and quite exceptional. Those who can love unconditionally have a grace about them that is beyond what can be put into words.
Almost everyone has felt ‘conditional’ love. “I love you, as long as you….” As long as you are pretty, or skinny, or give gifts, or are passive, or are strong…. The list goes on. I would guess that everyone has been shocked by a condition that was attached to love that you thought was unconditional.
Yes, I am an idealist! When I was younger, I would try to love every person in the world. I would fall asleep and imagine the net bigger and bigger. I imagined all kinds of people, good guys, bad guys, people I disagreed with, people I’d agree with if I knew them. I did this every night for a long time.
I stopped doing that at some point, because I realized that I do have conditions on love – not with everyone, but certainly with actions. I can’t really find it in my heart to ‘love’ someone who has hurt a child, or someone weaker than them who cannot help themselves. I can empathize with their story, or what led them to it, but once the action has been done, I am unable to feel any good feelings about someone who has taken actions like that.
But unconditional love is bigger than that, and the easiest way to start is with those around you now. Your friends and your family. Can you love someone even when they’re driving you nuts? Can you love someone cold and remote who doesn’t want affection? Can you love someone even though they hurt you? (As an aside, loving someone and putting up with bad behavior is totally different.)
I do believe that once you love someone, you never truly stop loving them on some level. Even if you kick them out of your life, the love you gave still exists somewhere, even if it’s changed. Some readers will never have let someone in their life go because the other person was bad for them. Still, the ability to love unconditionally is hard to cultivate, but worth any amount of time you put into it.
And there is no better feeling than being loved unconditionally in return.