Unconditional love. Some people are convinced that it is something we only read in fairy tale stories. Some believe that it’s not only real, but it is, in fact, the only real thing in this wretched world.
Me? I agree with the latter.
Unconditional love is pretty much real and it doesn’t mean loving someone without bounds or limits. It means offering your love without condition. Giving yourself freely to another human being without the expectation of repayment. It sounds so simple, but it is indeed one of the bravest and most difficult things a person could do in their life.
This kind of love is the only real love there is. That is why it is really important to offer it to the people in our life. Anything other than this love is considered love with strings attached.
One of the biggest mistakes we often make is comparing unconditional love to parental love. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that parents wouldn’t do anything for their children. I am just saying that more than often we fail to realize that there is a big difference between unconditional love and the love that our parents often give us. Let’s be real. I am sure that at one point in life, we’ve all been faced with the inevitable question… “After everything that I’ve done for you, this is the thanks that I get?”
As much as we like to think that it is, this love is not unconditional. It is more than obvious that this love is based on expectations of certain behavior that it is some sort of return favor for the parent’s investment. Sadly, this is often the reason for unhappy and dysfunctional parent-children relationships.
Having said this, it is important to know that while it’s truly wonderful to offer unconditional love to the people in our life, we don’t really have to offer them our love without bounds. In fact, that is something we must never do. For unconditional love is not love without boundaries. You can still love another human being unconditionally and decide to maintain your boundaries. That is called self-love.
Loving without strings attached or in other words unconditionally, wholeheartedly is healthy. But loving without boundaries or in other words, letting others control your life in the name of unconditional love is not healthy. That’s what gets people stuck in toxic relationships and makes their lives miserable.
If you have to excuse someone’s insufferable behavior or justify your partner’s toxic actions in order to keep the relationship going, you are only maintaining and encouraging the unhealthy relationship dynamic. You are not loving unconditionally, you are simply hurting yourself. Once again, this leads nowhere else but to a place of control and unbalanced power. And that could never be the foundation for real love.
To love unconditionally, you must first learn to love and respect yourself. You must learn to accept yourself fully. With all of your flaws and all of your strange, unlikable parts. For it is only when you stop hating yourself and forcing yourself to change that you will learn to love others for being exactly who they are.
To love unconditionally is to allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of another human being. To take off all your emotional clothes off and stand naked without being afraid of what others may think or say about you. To love someone through all the challenges, hardships, mistakes. To learn to adjust your sail to every thunderstorm ahead of you. To embrace the tension of life’s challenges by offering love, understanding, and compassion to your partner. To enter a relationship with your entire heart. To love someone, no strings attached without violating their boundaries or making them feel like they owe you something in return.
There was a time when I thought that unconditional love means not being able to live without that special person. That was until I met him and finally realized that real love is nothing more than freedom.
Freedom to love. Freedom to give. Freedom to just be.