We’ve all heard the term. Some of us have even said it to someone else: “I love you, unconditionally.” And you think you mean it, until you actually do.
When Cherise and I got married, we chose to love each other unconditionally. And we do. Even when we argue, or don’t see eye to eye, neither one of us ever doubts the other’s love because we know that it’s a choice. I’m gonna stop here and just say that I love my wife more than I ever thought possible. We have a deep soul connection and that, in my opinion, is paramount in any relationship. It was, and still is, easy for us to love each other unconditionally because of that connection, but unconditional love can be a choice in any circumstance. It’s always a choice.
And it’s simple – in theory. I say this because you have to love yourself unconditionally first. Without that, it’s impossible. And it’s not always an easy task.
Having children can really open you up to the feeling of unconditional love in a way that nothing else can – sure, having a pet can come close (dog or cat – because let’s face it, goldfish just swim around in a bowl) and it does open you up to the feeling, but nothing cinches it like a child. I am speaking from experience.
So what exactly is ‘unconditional love’?
Simply stated, it’s loving without condition. It means that no matter what the other person does or says, you love them anyway. Scary proposition, no? It includes continuing to love the other person if they cheat (you, or on you), lie, steal, wrong you in any way, etc… It’s a tall order. It’s not easy to love someone unconditionally – especially when they’re being a total douche. But that’s the definition. Love no matter what.
Don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t mean taking abuse from anyone, or allowing someone to walk all over you. Remember, you need to love yourself unconditionally first, and that means walking away from a situation like I just mentioned. It’s how you walk away that defines unconditional love. Doing it with kindness and forgiveness sets you free to move on and you can still love that person from a safe and healthy distance – you just don’t need to be around them. That’s very different from setting their car on fire. (Just a random example. Please don’t do that to anyone)
So, yes, you can choose to love unconditionally, or the choice can be made for you. Until Jacob came into my life, I had already chosen to love unconditionally – as I mentioned – and the choice was made for me in the form of my parents, but when you hold your newborn child in your arms for the very first time, something shifts in you that honestly can’t be explained. I knew in that instant that I would love him no matter what. I knew that I would do anything in my power to protect him and prepare him for life – regardless of what he does. When you love someone unconditionally, you can see them at their worst and still only see the good.
Loving unconditionally means picking up your child and hugging him even though he just puked all over himself. It means wiping his butt and dealing with temper tantrums. It also means laughing when he looks at you and says: “All done Dada! Dada go way!”
I hope to teach my son to love unconditionally. To love himself enough to be at peace and forgive everyone everything. To know when to walk away, and when to tough it out and help that person through the issue that they’re dealing with.
And I hope to teach him to never give up on himself – though, if his stubbornness is any indication, I have nothing to worry about on that one.
Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at here is that we can definitely all use a little more unconditional love in our life, and what better way than to be unconditional love for someone else. It’s hard. But remember, the hardest people to show unconditional love towards are the ones who need it the most. And if that’s too hard, maybe just try smiling…
Thanks for reading!
Practicing unconditional love,