Today I am grateful for those in my life who love unconditionally.
I really didn’t fully understand the meaning of unconditional love throughout my life. Understanding my experiences I believed that people have loved me. I believed that if people included me, that was a form of love. I felt love when I was giving love to others. Love came from times when I was serving others. I believed that love was putting yourself second giving my self away.
Today I understand love differently. Sometimes when we think about what something is not, It helps us understand its meaning.
Love is not made up of a series of conditions. It is impossible to love someone when your love has a rubric of restrictive measure. It is like the new bride who believes she is going to change her husband to mold into what she believes a he should be without really knowing him. This is like the parent who smothers a child acting out their own brokenness creating dependence for their own gain. Treating the child like an item. This is the type of love that always has a catch or strings attached or negotiated love. “If you do this for me, I will love you.”
If you are like me, then I will love you but if your different I can not love you. If you believe what I believe or if your life looks just like mine, then I can love you. If it is different, or makes me uncomfortable, then I can’t love.
This contingent love is manipulative and judgmental.
If you think about it, it is like buying a house. The seller has a bottom price. The seller has a belief of what he or she wishes to get in return for their asset. The buyer also is looking out for his or her own interest. They want to get the as much value out of the buy as possible. They want to get the seller to do as many things possible to make sure the asset has value to them. This back and forth dynamic is a negotiation.
Can we negotiate to buy and sell love conditionally?
True love in relationships requires giving and receiving. This reminds me of a gas tank on a car. If you drive and drive until the tank is empty you will stop. There is a need to have your tank refilled constantly in order to keep your car running. Its important to take it to the car wash for care, wax it from time to time, vacuum the inside, have the oil changed, check the fluids and take it out for a ride. If you neglect your car, it will not provide for you needs either.
We need to have our tank filled with love consistently and often.
We make mistakes in love and relationships. Love means truth, grace and forgiveness. Sustainable love requires needs all three ingredients. In an earlier blog in this series I mentioned the importance of truth without grace equals judgement from a book by Henry Cloud. Love isn’t perfect. It requires mutuality and work. Love without growth eventually dies. Couples can easily end up in with parallel lives, going through the motions making sure to cover all the “should haves” in life. Separate lives, lifeless, joyless and empty love can be the end result of no growth.
Love means loving yourself so you can love others. Love feels empty if you are not able to love yourself. Giving love when you don’t love yourself may become inauthentic. This love is fake, almost desperate and attention seeking. This type of love can feel selfish and conditional. If you are running on empty, It would be hard to give something you don’t currently possess.
If you don’t have self love, it makes it hard to receive love from others, a self-fulling prophecy for emptiness.
First love God, then love yourself, then love others.
Today I am grateful for those who have stayed close to me and loved me unconditionally
Original Featured Photo, gifted by: Laura Riggle, Photographer.
Love on the rocks.