Love is love; it doesn’t need adjectives like ‘unconditional’, ‘true’, ‘complete’, etc to accessorize it because these virtues are inseparable from it and are at its very core, laying its very foundation. But because a handsome amount of human population doesn’t understand it, I’ll refer to it as ‘unconditional love’ because that will make it easier for them to get a hold of what I’m daring to say here. First of all, allow me to start by saying that, we throw around the word ‘Love’ everywhere thoughtlessly like it’s some easy, ordinary, and cheap thing. Don’t get me wrong but by doing so, aren’t we distorting its sanctity? Aren’t we making it sound meaningless and hollow? Do think!
Now, what is unconditional love?
If love is given freely, and without reservation, it is unconditional. It is when you love someone, no matter what the condition, and without any boundaries. It is infinite. It is characterized by virtues like genuineness, authenticity, openness, self- disclosure, acceptance, empathy, and approval. In his book, ‘Man’s search for meaning’, Logotherapist and holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl draws parallels between human capacity to love unconditionally and living a meaningful life. Frankl writes, “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the essence of another human being unless he loves him unconditionally. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize his potentialities.” Simply stating, According to Frankl, unconditional love is a means by which we enable and reach human potential.” And indeed it is true because true love makes one grow as a person, it brings about a positive change in the person, contrary to being restrictive in nature and hampering one’s individual growth. You don’t get to emotionally harass each other and call it love. Stop doing that, please! Love down to its very roots, is unconditional. I try to broaden my horizon to understand the point of view of people who think differently, but I fail. I cannot fathom how one can label it as ‘love’ if it’s not unconditional. I mean how can you tell a person that ‘till you don’t do this, if you don’t be like that, I cannot love you’? Just think about it, it hardly makes any sense. Let me put it in layman’s language, you are not the boss of love, you cannot direct it, or order it to happen once the conditions are favorable to you. On the contrary, true love is that flower which will bloom, taking you off- guard, without giving you the slightest of warning, under any circumstances. Love is the most positive and strongest force that there ever will be. If you think you can put conditions to it, it’s time to sit down and be humble. I belong to the school of thought that believes ‘it’s not ‘love’ if it’s not ‘unconditional’.’ It’s a bluff that your mind is playing on you and the person you claim to love. ‘Blove’ if I may…? Or you are free to be creative and come up with your own version of the word. We’ve grown so weary and have romanticized the idea of ‘love’ for far too long that we’ve become drunk on its concept. We tend to weave an arrangement of ‘gives and takes’ and slap the label of love on it. Love? Really? It looks rather robotic to me, rather mechanical. There we have more terms! How about ‘Robotic Love’ or ‘Mechanical Love’? A more realistic term that you are looking for here is ‘Relationships’. One must learn to differentiate between relationships and love. Love is not the same thing as a relationship. Relationships, generally speaking, are designed to be conditional. It is a working partnership. Thus a relationship can end if the partnership does not function properly, and yet unconditional love (which is a stronger and greater force) towards the other person can remain. Sometimes ending a relationship can be the way to love unconditionally. I hope I’ve made my point clear.
How can you love unconditionally?
Unconditional love is an action rather than a feeling, a conscious decision that you make, to choose the happiness, growth, and well- being of another. Here’s a hint as to how you can start loving unconditionally:
- To be able to love others unconditionally, you must be able to love yourself unconditionally first. You should be able to move past all your imperfections and forgive yourself for all your past deeds and aim for personal growth.
- Make the conscious decision to love others unconditionally every day.
- Forgive those you love for their misdeeds and wrong decisions. Let them know how you feel about it and then let it go allowing them the space to grow and learn from their mistakes. Even if they are not sorry, true strength lies in forgiving, still. But don’t make this an excuse for letting them take you for granted and walk all over you. We are here talking about love being unconditional; not blind.
- Don’t overprotect them from the inevitable experiences of life. Instead, help and support them with dealing with those difficulties. Such life experiences that are hard are imperative for their individual growth and you must not protect them from experiencing their fair share of hardships.
- Stop using the word ‘care’ for putting conditions on the person you love. Care for the person by allowing them to grow and be happy in their own essence, not by restricting or conditioning them.
- Last but not the least; accept them as they are, with all their imperfections. No human is perfect, not even you.
Unconditional love requires a great deal of thought, action, faith, and strength. It was never supposed to be easy. Just a thought!