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What is Unconditional Love?

Updated on December 9, 2013

Love, Forever and Unconditional.


Love Can Do Your Head In


What Unconditional Love Might Feel Like

Unconditional love is the love a mother feels for her newborn. The fierce protective need that allows her to put her baby's needs above almost everything else. When she cuddles her newborn and caresses it with her eyes, the love she feels is immeasurable and a bond is forged for life....we hope.

Love is Blind.

Of course often, as the baby grows older, it will do things that may upset, disappoint, embarrass and hurt but usually they are all forgivable and the mother often feels she would love and forgive her child no matter what.

Love Encourages.

The same can apply to fathers of course, and if mum and dad are on the same page when it comes to parenting, then it can be a wonderful thing for the child's' development to know they can make mistakes in life and still be loved and made to feel worthy.

Love is Forgiving.

Unconditional love can be a beautiful thing to experience and I have known it from my own mother. Thank you mum for forgiving me for all the hurt I undoubtedly caused you when I, at sixteen entered into a relationship with a man ten years older.....and since now I have a daughter of my own I do remember thinking about her when she was sixteen and cringing at the thought of her having a relationship with a much older man. And mum thank you for still loving me when I fled with this same man who was on the run from the police, to another state and didn't contact you for months. That is an example of unconditional love and she never once said "I told you so".

Love is Boundless.

Unconditional love can also occur in families between brothers and sisters and in other close friendships. It knows no boundaries, it does not say "i will love you if....." it says I will love you even if...." and should never be confused with liking someone. You can love somebody and still not like them and the opposite applies as well, you can like them but not love them..confusing I know but if you stop and think about it, you will be able to relate to it.

Love Can Do Your Head In.

You probably have family members that you love with all your heart but you may not like them very much and that is okay. Unconditional love can be a little tricky in relation to the love/like issue. I think that it does require liking and loving someone regardless of what that person does.

Talking With Children


Explaining Love to Children

I remember a conversation with my daughter on the subject of conditional love. I was telling her why I loved her so much and that the love I had for her was unconditional. She asked what unconditional meant and so I explained it meant without conditions, without placing restrictions on love. I told her that no matter what she might have done or whatever she might do in the future, she could always rely on my love for her.

Love Can Sometimes Be Misplaced....

I then gave her an example. I told her a story of when I was growing up there had been a neighbor of ours who had been robbed of a large sum of money by her own brother who lived with her. She had never banked any of her money and instead had kept stashes of it around the house and even had a tin of money buried in the backyard. Anyway he had met some guy at the local hotel and the two of them had conspired to steal her money. They were eventually caught due to the mate having a big mouth and both went to jail. The sister made the long trip by bus every week to visit her brother in jail and allowed him back in her house after he was released. I remember mum asking her how could she possibly have anything more to do with him and she replied that no matter what he was still her brother and she loved him.

Or Taken For Granted

Unconditional love means standing by and supporting someone in the good and the bad times and it also should be the foundation of a good and strong marriage but, I now don't believe it really exists nor is it achievable for me.

Just When I Thought I Knew Everything About Love

Knowing Where to Draw the Line in the Sand.

I was under the assumption I knew what love and unconditional love was and I knew what it felt like, however I really doubt that for most of us who live with a code of ethics, it can be given freely to anyone. We all have our limits. Rules that we know we would never break, lines we would never cross. And we do expect others, especially in our circle of friends and family to abide by those laws. Some of my rules include never to treat animals cruelly. It really gets me going when I hear of the animal cruelty stories in the media. Another, is any abuse whatsoever on children. Can't tolerate it and I would not put up with anyone who thinks it is justified. Most people feel this way, you included I am sure.

When Someone You Love Crosses the Line.

Therefore, I now realize without a doubt that I could never again love anyone unconditionally. I have acknowledged that I have boundaries and limitations. I think, perhaps boundaries are necessary in respect to love. And I don't think I need to justify my reasoning apart from saying that I once was so much in love with a man that I believed I loved unconditionally. I even forgave him for having an affair and after a brief time apart we resumed our relationship, so I thought I had showed him my unconditional love for him...then I discovered he was abusing our daughter and out the window went that feeling of unconditional love. So I guess I never had it in the first place because he had crossed the line that I had unknowingly drawn. I had always had in place a line he was not to cross a condition on just how much my love strand could stretch and it could never include child abuse. They were my conditions and lets face it...most of us have them. I did love him with all my heart only so long as he never sexually abused our daughter and I believe that is fair and just on my part.

As for my daughter I know and trust her and love her beyond belief. I doubt she will ever cross the lines I have in place that might find me losing my love for her...and yes that does include animal and child abuse. But there again although my love for her is the strongest of all loves I can possibly feel, it has boundaries and conditions.

Animals Love You No Matter What!


Love is Still Confusing

I have witnessed unconditional love in other people and thought to myself, how could they? The lady who continually gets bashed night after night by her drunk husband and who still pleads she loves him? The child who is disciplined to the extreme and beaten for the slightest thing by his mother..still loves her and would not want to live without her? and what about the animals who love us unconditionally just for who we are regardless of how we might treat them.

But are these examples of real love anyway? I think I have only created more questions in regard to unconditional love that I have given answers for. Love remains confusing and probably feels different and unique to everyone. Whenever you feel lost and in need of guidance in love and heart matters read Corinthians 13.

Love is..

According to Corinthians 13;

  • Love is patient
  • Love is kind
  • Love does not envy
  • Love does not boast
  • Love is not proud
  • Love is not rude
  • Love is not self-seeking
  • Love is not easily angered
  • Love keeps no record of wrongs
  • Love rejoices with the truth
  • Love always protects
  • Love always trusts
  • Love always hopes
  • Love always perseveres

Don't feel daunted by this seemingly ideal (and perhaps un-achievable) list of what love is. Don't compare your love to this list of attributes and feel that your love is not up to scratch.

As you go about you day be mindful of being patient and kind with others. Be aware of envious feelings, boasting, feeling proud and rude. Be conscious of times when you might be self-seeking and try to keep anger from damaging you relationships. Avoid keeping a list in your head of wrongs. Dare to face up to the truth. And enjoy the feelings of protection, trust and hope that enables love to persevere.

Love is Oxygen

So it really doesn't seem to matter if the love you have for another has conditions or not. It is up to you, your love represents what is important to you, what makes you happy. Love is like oxygen, you need it in order to thrive and be the best version of who you are meant to be. It increases your positive thoughts, motivation and general outlook on life. You can't help but smile when you know love. Love is, and always will be what most of us look for from birth to the grave. Love is, as the saying goes, where you find it. So if you haven't found it yet...don't stop looking

Love Makes Me Smile



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    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 2 years ago from Australia

      That's right Dream On, and Guy we can only do work on ourselves, either changing our behaviour or thought patterns, or maintaining those attributes that are positive and work for us. Expecting others to change for us is counter-productive to their journey in life and I usually find that as long as I am aware of my own way of 'being' and not being overly judgemental of others it just seems to be that those around me no longer annoy me to the point where I want them to change. Each and every one of us deserves to be true to ourselves and not expected to live up to others standards. Thank you so much for reading my hub.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 2 years ago

      I believe we can have unconditional love for each other in a relationship for someone you are about to marry unfortunately it has to be match made in heaven. Some people fall in love with what they want someone to be not who they really are. In time we learn the difference. I believe what you said that there has to be guidelines when crossed life can never be the same. I am very fortunate I met someone who has the same values as me and we talk things out when there our differences. Building our bonds for each other even stronger. It wasn't possible with a previous love she loved when she felt like it. She could turn it on and off like a faucet.Wonderful hub with much knowledge and insight.

    • padmendra profile image

      PADMENDRA S R 4 years ago from DELHI/NCR

      Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 6 years ago from Australia

      Hi Stariswhoiam, wow I think you really understood my hub well, it was the sort of question that just goes around in circles and you are absolutely right about falling in or being in love with the person we think them to be because we never really know what is going on in someones head. I was really unlucky with my first husband as he turned out to be absolutely nothing like the person I was in love with for 30 odd years. he had a lot of secret and evil ways that I knew nought about so as it turns out my relationship with him was based on how I thought him to be. Thanks so much for your praise on my writing. :)

    • stariswhoiam profile image

      stariswhoiam 6 years ago

      *when I bring up talking about someone that is out of touch with reality I really mean is the person sees things and hear things that aren't there... like they could end up seeing or hearing ANYTHING, like they think a person is going to kill them that's standing in front of them so they kill them (when it would make no sense to think the person would kill them) or someone who goes around killing people because a creature they pictured in their head told them to do so, etc.

      & I bring up the man that mistook his wife for a hat because I felt it was interesting (but this guy actually just had something in his brain that impaired his vision), however, he was conscious of reality (just didn't see things right)

    • stariswhoiam profile image

      stariswhoiam 6 years ago

      Well if I were to talk based on certainty, I think if a person is a good person, the only person they know they could always find a way to love would be their self. The only exception would be if they literally were not in touch with reality. For example, unintentionally hurting someone because they thought the other person was literally a hat (I actually read about someone that mistook their wife for a hat, however, the only detail I know about the story is that he thought his wife was a hat).

      I guess one could argue that if someone fell in love with a man that they thought was not evil and he turned out to be evil, the love wouldn't be counted as unconditional or conditional in the first place, because they fell in love with the man for what they believed him to be & not what he actually is.

      I guess with romance, it's about taking that leap of faith even though we can never know who another person truly is because we can't read minds, we fall for them for what we believe them to be and if we're lucky what we believe them to be is actually who they are.

      I remember watching an episode of a show that's not a reality show where a mother went to the hospital checking up on their son who had murdered a lot of people. She seemed like a good woman. Anyway, she talked about how even though her son is a bad person... she still loved him and wanted him to stay alive, which makes me believe that maybe a mother's love for their child COULD be unconditional.

      Now I'm wondering if a person ends up falling in love with a man or woman and finds out the other person was never the person they thought they were... in my head I'm thinking the thoughts... Is romance itself real?... What if I were to fall in love with a man and never find out about the evil in him that was there all along? & I just wouldn't know... would my love for him be real or just seemingly real and actually an illusion... but then again, what if I fell in love with a man and who I think they are is who they are? Now that I think about it in detail, I'm not sure what to make of it.

      By the way, I like the way you write. This is very insightful. I kept reading it from the start and it just kept my interest the whole time. I could really feel the emotion you conveyed & it's a beautiful piece of writing & you bring up interesting points.

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 6 years ago from Australia

      Thank you very much Fennelseed for taking the time to read my hub and leave comments. I agree with you about always choosing our kids over others, not sure why but I suspect a mothers love is extremely strong, even stronger that between husband and wife. I too look forward to reading more of yours :)

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 6 years ago from Australia

      I agree with your thoughts on unconditional love and can relate to most of what you have said here.

      I love each of my children unconditionally and will be there for them no matter what. I lost my son in an accident, it could be said of his own making, as he was participating in an extreme sport at the time. He had years of experience but that didn’t save him. I dreaded his sport and now it has taken him away from me. But I am not angry and my love for him is all I have left now.

      I love my partner, though he tried hard to come between my youngest daughter and I and almost succeeded. He treated her badly during the early days of our 8 year relationship, not physically, but mentally, by basically ignoring her, though she lived with us. I had to work hard to demonstrate that my daughter will always be a big part of my life, therefore our life.

      My partner comes from a family that doesn’t understand unconditional love and are constantly divided and various members will go years holding grudges against other family members and not talking to each other. They do not get together as a family and lead isolated lives.

      I have become insistent that he is not going to bring his style of family into my family. I love him, but our values in regard to family are miles apart. I love him but if he tries to alienate me from my family again, I will choose my children over him. I guess based on that my love for him is conditional.

      I have enjoyed reading your hub, and look forward to reading more of your work.

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 6 years ago from Australia

      Hi ChristinS, The Stockholm Syndrome is very interesting and complex and most people find it difficult to understand how a person can feel this love for their abuser especially when it is a stranger. When I started writing this hub I wasn't sure of my views exactly but what often happens is, I reach a bit of clarity once I put my feelings on paper and would agree with you that all love has conditions and limitations. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      When it comes to severe abuse also there is the whole "Stockholm Syndrome" - In places where people have been kidnapped for years for example - they develop a loyalty to their captor. I think a lot of abused people, especially kids, feel "love" for their abusers because they don't know anything different. I think it's more than low self-esteem - it's a form of co-dependence. Women who stay with men who beat them relentlessly usually do so more out of fear of dying than love - that loyalty they feel to their partner is perplexing indeed, but I think may be more along the lines of "Stockholm Syndrome"

      I do think all love has conditions and it probably should, but I might also add that you can love someone and not condone their behavior. I have many alcoholics in my family - I love them all, but I don't enable them or condone their choices.

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 6 years ago from Australia

      Thank you Paul for stopping by Paul, I agree with you that if we could all practice unconditional love there would be no wars or fighting but I doubt it is achievable and that is sad.

      and dashigscorpio you make an excellent point about those who don't draw lines having low self esteem, I had not though of that. And I love and agree with your comment "the only real unconditional love should be the love you have for yourself" brilliant!!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Most love comes with conditions. (The exception is God's love for man and possibly a parent's love for a child). The rest of us have "deal breakers" or things we will not accept in a relationship. Anyone who will not draw a line in the sand or make a stand likely has a lack of self-esteem. The only real "unconditional love" should be the love you have for yourself.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      if everyone showed unconditional love, there would be no fighting or wars. Chinese philosophers have debated whether man was born good or bad. I think man was born both good and bad, and for this reason it is so hard for people to show unconditional love, especially when you are looking after yourself as number one.