What Is Love and Can it Really Be Unconditional?
Everyone wants to be loved. It is one of one of the basic human needs, according to Maslow and other renowned psychologists with similar theories. Many people claim that love is both the most selfless of emotions and the most selfish. That is a powerful thought, but how is it that it can bring both joy and pain? Why is it a double-edged sword? And can it really be unconditional? Those are just a few of the questions we can explore here today.
According to Merriam Dictionary Online:
not conditioned or limited: absolute, unqualified
Love (noun) -
1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
2) attraction based on sexual desire
3) affection based on admiration or common interests
4) unselfish loyal and beneficial concern for the good of another
Love (verb) -
to hold dear; cherish
Quotes about unconditional love:
Accept the children the way we accept trees - with gratitude, because they are a blessing - but do not have expectations or desires. You don't expect trees to change, you love them as they are.
- Isabel Allenade
The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.
-Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare
Love is made up of three unconditional properties of equal measure:
Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.
Which, by the way, is something highly inadvisable. Think about it - do you really want to live in a world with only two dimensions.
So, for the love of triangles, keep love whole.
-Vera Mazarian, The Perpetual Calendar Inspiration
There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction. Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstance.
-Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare
Self-righteousness is much like a spiritual egocentricity. It constitutes a secular type of love that thrives under conditionality, one in which is only existent after an individual meets the adopted standards of the condemner: oppositely, unconditional love is holy love.
-Chris Jami, Salome: In Every Inch In Every Mile
Nothing you become will disappoint me; I have no preconception that I'd like to see you be or do. I have no desire to foresee you, only discover you. You can't disappoint me.
Nothing on Earth hurts my soul more than unconditional love.
If someone is facing a difficult time, one of the kindest things you can do is say, "I'm just going to love you through this."
-Molly Friendenfield, The Book of Simple Human Truths: Inspiration, Love & Wisdom
Spending moments with another in earnest presence is one of the simple ways we can show unconditional love. It is the memories created from these impressions that survive after all else passes."
What is love?
If you ask me, love is just as much a noun as it is a verb. Much of the time deep affection or compassion is present, but sometimes an act of love is carried out without immediate affection being present. It is so much more than the emotions that ebb and flow because it is also comprised of acts of kindness that are carried out regardless of whether there is an immediate desire to do so. Of course, a dictionary definition genererally does not take anything other than affection into account. However, if it is purely defined in that manner, I am not sure unconditional love could even exist because there are times when grace and forgiveness must be offered as well.
What is unconditional love?
Unconditional love is just that - unconditional. Without qualifications, without limits, and without exceptions. It just is. It does not end even if the loved one is gone. It is pure, it is sincere, it is divine, and it is rare.
Unconditional love is often likened to maternal or paternal love as a love that endures no matter what a child does, bad or good. Given how many parents there are in the world, it would seem that unconditional love would be in abundance, but most so-called love is conditional in some form or another.
Is unconditional love really unconditional?
By definition, if the love is truly enduring despite conditions, it is unconditional. Perhaps the rarity of its existence has to do with the double-edged factor that comes with loving under certain external conditions. Possessing and giving this kind of love can be among the most painful experiences, but it can also be among the most rewarding. The key is knowing how to cope with the pain by letting go of expectations.
How do you love unconditionally?
Much like there is unconditional love through Christ, in order to love others unconditionally, one must let go of most, if not all, selfish notions surrounding love. This includes pain and a strong desire to have a person in one's life. Perhaps Mary Haskell says it best when she says, "I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you." Though in discovering another, pleasant things must not become a reason to love and unpleasant things should not become reasons not to love. To either say that someone is loved or not loved for certain traits, personality characteristics, or things done is to place limits and expectations. These things change. They change with physical, spiritual, and other types of growth. They also change according to circumstance. So if someone else cannot tell you why you are loved, consider it a compliment. Things we love about someone should not be the reasons we love someone.
Other thoughts on the matter:
What does all this matter?
Love is a gift - that is why it is given to someone. Gifts of love cannot be borrowed, neither can they be returned to sender. The recipient has no choice in the matter, albeit most of the time it is a welcomed gift. To be loved by others is sought after, if only to feel a sense of acceptance by others, and it is fulfilling, especially if the grace of true unconditional love is extended.
To love someone else unconditionally is, perhaps, even more fulfilling and freeing than being loved unconditionally. It opens doors for unexpected relationships that can cause personal growth, fulfill one's own need to feel accepted, fulfill other subconscious needs, and bring great happiness. The real value in trying to master the art of unconditional love, however, is knowing you have the capacity to love.
Possessing the ability to love at all is a blessing, but possessing the ability to love unconditionally might just be the biggest blessing one can have. It is life affirming, and if you can love even one person unconditionally, you can recognize when it is sincerely given to you. Embrace the gift and do not ask why.