After two painful divorces, I learned several valuable lessons about love and marriage that I was sharing with a friend awhile back. You may be reluctant to take relationship advice from someone who’s on her third marriage, so take what I’ve learned with a grain of salt. But I wish someone had taught me these lessons years ago.
13 Things I’ve Learned About Unconditional Love
- Unconditional love is epic. You can’t earn it. You don’t get to choose who receives it. It goes beyond all logic and exceeds your ability to understand it. It just is.
- Unconditional love doesn’t just apply to romance. While you may love your partner unconditionally, you may also unconditionally love your parent, your child, your best friend, or your ex-lover.
- Unconditional love doesn’t always make sense. You may unconditionally love your abusive, alcoholic mother or the brother who molested you or the husband who betrayed you. You may have every reason on earth to hate someone, but you love them anyway. That’s how unconditional love works.
- Unconditional love is boundless. By definition, there are no conditions on unconditional love. It is a gift someone doesn’t have to earn. It’s Divine love. It’s a form of grace. The person you love could become a drug dealer, form a prostitution ring, molest a child, and then kill someone – and you might not like what they’ve done, but you will still love them.
- You can love the person unconditionally and still hate the behavior. The person you love unconditionally may disappoint you in a thousand ways. But when you love unconditionally, you can separate the behavior from the person, rejecting the behavior without rejecting the person.
- Loving someone unconditionally doesn’t mean being a doormat. Even if you love someone with this kind of epic love, you don’t have to tolerate bad behavior. If he cheats, it’s okay to leave. If he hits you, it’s okay to separate. If she tears you apart every time, you don’t have to keep going home. You can love unconditionally and still set boundaries.
- Unconditional love doesn’t mean staying when you’re unhappy or unfulfilled. Sometimes we unconditionally love a partner who isn’t meeting our needs. Maybe your partner doesn’t feed your soul, squelches your creative potential, and threatens to hold you back from living out your calling and reaching for your dreams. As much as having unconditional love for someone can enrich a relationship, the presence of unconditional love doesn’t mean settling for less than you truly desire in life. Sometimes it’s time to move on – and that’s okay. It doesn’t weaken the love or mean you’re a bad person. You can leave, and even if you break someone’s heart, you can still love that person unconditionally.
- We enter into sacred contracts with those we love unconditionally. We are here on earth with those we love unconditionally in agreement to help each other grow. To complete our assignments, we face challenges together. How we navigate these challenges is part of what we’re here on earth to learn.
- Unconditional love relishes the individuality of another being. When you love unconditionally, you love someone for who they really are – not who you want them to be. When you love someone unconditionally, you encourage authenticity. You celebrate diversity and non-conformity, you agree to disagree, you encourage debate, and you don’t take it personally. You stop faking it with each other. You give that person permission to live and speak his or her truth, even if you don’t agree with what he or she believes.
- Unconditional love may not be reciprocated. Every individual has a different capacity for opening their heart. You may be more gifted in loving with an open heart than the person you love unconditionally. It’s not personal. Be grateful that you have this capacity to love, and try not to take it personally if the person you love isn’t able to return the epic love you have. If your love isn’t reciprocated, don’t let it keep you from opening your heart to others. As much as it can hurt to have your unconditional love unreciprocated, you have to give people permission to break your heart in order to experience the blessings of being loved unconditionally by others.
- Unconditional love never ends, even if the relationship is over. By its very definition, unconditional love is not conditional. The love can go on beyond when a relationship ends. You can love someone unconditionally who you haven’t seen in twenty years. Unconditional love can even continue after the person you love dies. This kind of love never ends.
- Unconditional love is worth the risk. When you give your heart away fully to someone, you assume risk. Someone could hurt you. You’re saddled with a love that will never end. It can be scary and painful and exhausting to love unconditionally. But dare I say that this is the meaning of life – to learn to love unconditionally and be loved in return? Yes, that’s what I believe.
- To love unconditionally is divine. When we love unconditionally, we channel the kind of love the Divine has for us and become vessels of healing, nurturing, and connection.
It’s such a fine balance. One of my wise clients said, “Love that requires you to compromise your integrity, your values, or your healing isn’t, ultimately, love.” Or is it? Maybe people who demand that you compromise your integrity, your values, or your healing shouldn’t be allowed to influence you, and if you can’t set those boundaries and still have them in your life, perhaps you need to take a break from them.
But is it not love? I’m not sure. I guess I think you can still love someone who asks you to compromise. The difference is that you don’t have to acquiesce to anyone’s demands, even if you love them unconditionally.
Do You Love Someone Unconditionally?
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