Unconditional Love

Unconditional love: the act of giving without expectation of getting something in return. In a response to a post I wrote yesterday a very wise person commented on the act of unconditional love. It hit a cord and I thought that unconditional love was a state of perfection and what a wonderful state the world would be in if it was common practice. But we all know it is not. And as the evening progressed and I sat in my garden chair, I thought about my sphere of influence and practice. How did unconditional love work? I thought I would offer it up for discussion.
Most children, as I am generalizing, are born into this state of unconditional love. They love their family without any expectation because they are brand new to this world. You can tell when a child has been nurtured in such a family as they seem to be open to helping and giving and have a state of charity instilled in them. But then that line gets blurred with the child who is raised with every expectation handed to them. Is this unconditional love or is this a lack of something? As adults, they seem to expect the world to revolve around them and are shocked when it does not occur. I saw in my own family the siblings who received carte blanche growing up unable to navigate when the water was rough. I see it in the children of friends who allow their child the space and room to develop their world unconditionally. They are open and outgoing, but then the line blurs with the child’s expectation of constant attention no matter the situation. It must be very difficult to raise children and temper unconditional love with rule and behaviors that may seem harsh and restrictive. Of course, there has to be those boundaries or the children will suffer calamity when the world turns ugly.
We all know the person who is in a relationship and they are being mistreated and walked on. I bet one of the members of the pair believes in unconditional love. I know in my first marriage for example, it was how I felt at first. I loved the man unconditionally. As time went on, he took advantage of my feelings and slowly removed my self-esteem and self-worth, but I hung on to the concept that he was my husband and I needed to love him. In the end, he destroyed my love for him and myself. It was not my choice and I struggled for years with the failure being mine because I thought somehow, I failed with the unconditional love principal. Unconditional love is something I believe in strongly but have learned to temper it with less childlike expectations.
As my life has progressed, I have been in many friendships where I have tried to accept my friends with no expectations. For those I love, in most cases, the things I do are without conditions. I truly enjoy being the giver. As an adult, I had to turn my feelings off about my parents and become their caregiver with unconditional love as they passed on. There are many situations when I have had to go beyond and offer up love even when it is difficult. A prime example is my sister, who literally sucked the life out of me. She was given a lot of room as a child and protected and forgiven easily for her transgressions. My oldest brother was always cleaning up messes she created and some were real douzzies. I promised my mother on her death bed that I would take care of my sister, even though she is much older than me. It was an oath I kept for years. Finally it was to the point that my contact with her was making me physically ill. Without a lengthy explanation, she was toxic. I had to sever the relationship completely. I am sure she harbors confusion and anger, thinking I am horrible for not being a good sister. But I had to do it. I have run into her and she instantly wants to rekindle and I have to be unrelenting and say no. I have to say that she stalked me and this will give you an idea of why it has to be an all or nothing situation. I also have in the past, severed the relationship and then thought through my guilt that I am being horrible and open the door back up to the relationship. In no time, she would be back to behaviors that went beyond acceptable.
So that brings up the topic of boundaries and why this concept of unconditional love is bouncing in my head. Where and when do boundaries block the concept of loving someone unconditionally? To me it is a paradox. Without conditions means to me without limitations and boundaries are limitations. But without boundaries, the giver of unconditional love opens themself up to be meat. Yes, meat. There are people out there who see folks who truly are willing to give and accept as being food for consumption for their vulture like appetites. These are the people who do not return unconditional love, but instead are so self-evolve and egocentric that the only being they love unconditionally is themselves. This is not a bad thing either unless it is at the cost of others. I will return to this in a second. I am talking about the people, and I have faced many, who start off very sweet and giving and feel you out. They build a relationship that is mutually satisfying and beneficial and then something shifts. Give and take becomes take. I have this often in my world and I experience it at work. I have cautioned others to be aware of the piranhas of their world. I am better at it a work than I have ever been and draw the line immediately when someone crosses it.
I struggle with this still in my personal life, but that too is better. It is because I draw line that once crossed too many times, I will do something about it. This was not existent in my past. Sometimes I wonder if I have become a hard and unforgiving person. I know what is different is that there is one person I am learning to truly love unconditionally and that is me. So within that parameter, I do set boundaries. It does not mean I stop loving someone. I stop being taken advantage of. My vulnerability is easily demonstrated when I like someone and there are some who can identify this vulnerability as an easy mark. I will test the waters to see how far it goes and then I have to protect the only person I truly can. Me. If the relationship becomes severed then I feel there was nothing lost on my behalf and that I can put another notch on my self-esteem belt. I find the relationships where I practice this are the ones that give me the most satisfaction and joy. It does not mean I stop loving anyone. It does not mean I stop loving unconditionally. It means that my priority is to have true and honest relationships that are healthy and mutually nurturing. The people can go on with their lives with nothing taken away and I wish them all the best. I hope my sister is doing well. I even hope my ex-husband who was the king of vultures is having a wonderful life. I know with them not being in mine has made my world a better place. My growth continues as I learn and understand these many concepts. They are hard to perfect. But each opportunity is a lesson for self-empowerment which in the long run is providing more chances to practice what true unconditional love means.


6 thoughts on “Unconditional Love

  1. In my perception of it, Unconditional Love is doing what we think is right and best for anyone, including ourselves…In Love. That is…if Boundaries are called for, set them with Love, not hate or anger. If we need to cast someone from our lives, do it with Love, for them and ourself. In other words, no matter what it is we need to do to take care of ourselves, our lives, and others….whether it be “positive or negative”, do it with Love. It is the “Intention” that we do/say things with that gives it meaning. Make Unconditional Love the Intention with all that we do. Unconditional Love for the Self means you do exactly what you need to do for yourself concerning people, boundaries, lines, care, etc….just do it with…Love.

    I just recently had to let go of a toxic person in my life too. Leading up to it, I had a period of anger and hurt. But…when it came time for me to make the decision…I let go of them with Unconditional Love…sending them away with the best possible energy. It was better for me…and for them. Unconditional Love does not mean we allow ouselves to be run through and taken advantage of. It means we do what we have/need to do, with Love. Corny, I know…but I believe in it!

    At least…this is my interpretation…which of course, is relative to each of us! 😉
    Love your wise words Jane!

    • You have no idea how much I needed what you said. My intentions are for the highest good and I think not just for me, but for the person who I need to reset my boundaries with. No good comes from ill intent and I do not think I have it in me to be malicious. Thanks as always for your words of wisdom. It is like a virtual hug.

  2. Pingback: question 90 – About oneness and unconditional love | Onenessguy's Weblog

  3. Sort of like a tree whose fruit has been picked… no more until the next season… whereupon the fruit will be different… as will the picker…
    each, tree and harvester… whether aware of it or not… do what they do – out of and in Love…

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