The subject of unconditional love is quite an elusive one. It has been stated that parents and significant others are supposed to accept and love us unconditionally. This is what good and loving parents and significant others do.........
Well, in actuality and reality, parents and significant others in our iives oftentimes give us conditional love i.e. they will love and accept us if we adopt certain actions and behaviors which are pleasing to their particular construct. The concept of unconditional love only exists for the envolved, enlightened few who actually practice unconditional acceptance, love, and respect. What is YOUR take on this premise?
This is one of my favorite topics to ponder and I've pondered it for years.
I think the first place to start is by defining unconditional love and what it actually means. Does it mean that if my partner beats me I am meant to allow that because I love him? Does holding people accountable for bad behaviour and imposing sanctions on that behaviour mean that person is not loved?
Or maybe it isn't so much that unconditional love is what needs defining but its expression. How does one ever know what another feels?
And what is love to begin with? Is it that feeling I have in my heart or is it something else? Does love require an object in order to love? Is that why Cupid is depicted with an arrow--because without a target, there is no love? And why must one be "loved back" for love to exist?
And I believe you are absolutely correct, people are rarely viewed as the individuals they are. Usually, while we are over here being who we are, thinking that we we're presenting is what's being seen, the reality is that we are being filtered and processed for the identification of those parts of us match the image of us in the head of the other person--we aren't actually being seen at all, we are simply screens for the reception of another person's imaginary projection--the projection is what is being loved unconditionally, not the actual person who exists outside that projection.
I read a lot of Jungian psychology and this phenomenon is cover in depth in his work and I have worked a lot of personal issues out with the aid of that work.
But I still know very little about your question because to me, what is typically identified as lvoe is simply an emotional addiction. From where does the concept of unconditional love come? Is it perhaps a spiritual concept originating with the Divine, (forgive me for interjecting God if you are not a believer--I'm not trying to turn this into a religious debate) and if so, perhaps only the Divine can actually express or comprehend it?
Esme, I was not addressing abhorrent, egregious and disrespectiful behaviors that no one, not even parents nor significant others, should EVER tolerate whatsoever. I was discussing family members with differing lifestyles, personalities, and opinions.
There are some family members who love their children only if their children have the same or similar beliefs as they do e.g. strict religious parents who want their children to be in the same religion as they do or they will be disowned. Another instance is a father will not accept that his son loves ballet and is not into sports so the father will badger him in order to "make him more of a man" and denigrate the son's natural proclivity in order to "get him in line" so to speak.
Esme_ Emotional addiction is not what you call unconditional love. This is the worlds point of view. More like co-dependency. Unconditional love exists. It is just getting past your issues and learning what it is. Your mind has to be very free of all your negative beliefs about love. We have been taught about conditional love in our lives by our cultures, family, and fortunately generations of abusive tendencies, behaviors, and beliefs. It's up to you to remove those obstacles out of your life by doing what you're doing seeking and searching out your answers. You will see the more you know and learn the more power you have to remove yourself from unhealthy environments and find one that is healthier and unconditional in nature. It's finding those teachers and coaches in life to get you there. Jung is one of them. Abusive relationships won't last and they are nothing about love, but two people hurting each other. Hate to say that, but it is truth with no respect for one another.
The only mammals that are capable of unconditional love are dogs, cats....animals. Humans are only capable of conditional love, however, as a mother I will and I know other parents who do love their children unconditionally. Example: If my son turned into a murderer, I will always love him but I don't have to condone what he did and I don't have to visit him in prison. Maybe I contradicted myself but studies have been done one this.
Don't know that I would say that animals are capable of unconditional love. Mistreat a dog enough and it will either go insane or turn on the owner. Mistreat a cat and it will leave the first opportunity or begin to fight back.
Even animal love can be abused to the point it disappears.
That's what one would be taught if they grew up in a religious family in which such behaviors are exhibited and learned from the god of the religion.
I think unconditional love is something we strive for and would love to think we can obtain it. At times we may mirror it but the bottom line is we are not perfect so we really cant have unconditional love all the time, we can only try our best to reach for it. Some are better at showing it than others, depending on the person. I always would like to think that no matter what my family and true friends will have unconditional love for me, even when i put my foot in my mouth or rub them the wrong way, or even take a path that they may not agree with. I also strive to give them the same love. Saying all that... whose to say where that fine line is where someone says no more...we even surprise ourselves what we are able to endure or not.
Love is so much more than an emotion. The problem with 'unconditional' love is that many people view love as solely emotional. Emotions are dependent on so many things; our environment, our needs, our desires. When someone doesn't stimulate us in a positive emotional way, we respond to that emotional stimuli rather than responding with love, which is an act of will.
Actual love desires the best for its object, regardless of its impact on us. For example, I wish for the best for my husband regardless of how it affects me. Of course, that implies that my needs are all met, I have all that my heart desires, and that I live in a safe environment. If I don't, self-love demands that I do everything that I can to meet those needs for myself before I am capable of wishing them or working toward them for someone else.
Unconditional love is wishing for and working toward the best for others. That doesn't mean that we always give them what they want, approve of what they do, or turn a blind eye to things that they may say or do that are harmful to others (or themselves). It means that we do our best to provide for them, when they are in our presence, a safe environment, and do what we can to help meet their healthy needs and desires.
That is the very essence of Jungian philosophy. You have stated it well. We filter everything through our own set of lenses based on our own perceptions. The unconditional love isn't unconditional at all, it's very much based on conditions (filters) of how we perceive ourselves, which is then reflected in how we perceive others. I think, perhaps, it takes acceptance more so than enlightenment. Plenty of people think they are enlightened!
It's very interesting to read forum posts in this light, especially controversial topics or someone claiming to know more than another.
My own personal experience with 100% pure, unadulterated, "unconditional love," is limited to my sons, and their children. (and Using past tense, my mother father and sister, now deceased.) Period, the end.
All others have a significant place in my life and many emotions apply......love, respect, admiration, fondness, loyalty, concern, friendship and many other positive feelings.......just not the utter unconditional love that is explicitly for those I named.......
gmwilliams- Fortunately your correct, enlightened evolved beings do it more than the average person. It's our job as teachers to teach what it is...why i believe where ever I go it is teaching others to love unconditionally. I think we have a lot of people out there right now teaching it, and those that choose to learn and grow will take the lessons and learn to change this world and move it forward. The old ways are no longer working, manipulation, control, and abuse. Unconditional love does none of these things or dwell in addictions. It's not an easy path of unconditional love and we're like Gold to those that want to knock us down. I've got my battles of others trying to stop me from being a writer, and teacher. It's hard and not always easy. Unconditional love is important in our lives to succeed who ever we are no matter where are in life. It' heals the heart and soul. It heals families, friends, and makes better co-workers on the job. It's only elusive if you allow it to escape from your life and not keep your focus and eyes on it.
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