Is Your Love Conditional Love or Unconditional Love?
I was talking to a close friend about something that I’d been waiting for him to do for years. We talked about it and I explained that our relationship was synonymous with a state of perpetual waiting. Of course it made us laugh.
Later in the day I wondered about creating a deadline. I imagined myself saying something like “I shall wait until such and such a date, and maybe a little bit longer if I need too but that’s all”. You can tell how uncomfortable I was with this even though the matter was well overdue. It just didn’t feel appropriate that I should place demands on my friend. I realised that my life was becoming increasingly structured by deadlines and that I was automatically and unconsciously considering this approach with my friend.
What I was contemplating doing was what many people do. I was unconsciously considering placing conditional demands on my relationship which would have changed our friendship from one of being unconditionally loving to conditional. I soon realised this, and instead consciously chose to come from a place of unconditional love by not placing conditions on our relationship.
Unconditional Love Makes No Demands and Is Beyond Time
The questions underlying our interaction apply to all kinds of relationships and are ones we often find ourselves asking. As parents, partners and friends we spend a lot of time waiting for loved ones and waiting with loved ones. Waiting for and waiting together with our loved ones is a part of all our relationships.
I recall someone once saying that within relationships we spend a lot of time in the waiting room…and it’s so true. We wait for loved ones to heal when they are sick, to return when they have gone away, to grow up when they’re immature, to make decisions when they don’t know which way to go, to find themselves when they feel lost, to commit when they’re not ready, and to love us when they haven’t yet learned what love is, or haven’t yet learned how to love themselves. The journey of love is never ending and as loving parents, partners and friends we sometimes find ourselves asking these questions:
“Should love wait? If so, how long should love wait?”
The answer to this question is twofold depending on what kind of love we’re talking about. Authentic love that is genuine and unconditionally given, shouldn’t anything. In fact, the words ‘unconditional love’ and ‘shouldn’t’ don’t even belong in the same sentence. The reason being that unconditional love is limitless and cannot be not bound by rules, demands or expectations because it knows no boundaries.
Authentic, unconditional love also has its own timing and is in essence timeless due to its eternal nature. That’s why contemplating a deadline felt so strange. Authentic love is not a construct of the mind like a business report, or a list of tasks to complete.
Authentic, unconditional love is beyond form so cannot be contained, pinned or held down by its opposite which is conditional love. It is dynamic and alive, ever growing, ever evolving and changing. It will always find freedom to express its true nature which is loving, and it has the ability to transcend anything. Unconditional love is patient and kind, it makes time because it cares, it listens and it gives of itself instead of taking away. It cannot be anything else.
Unconditional love is not something to be done or checked off a list so that you can get back to living your life. It is life, and to be loved, give love and feel loved in return are the most basic of all human needs. Unconditional love says I am here for you no matter what, I will love you no matter what and I will wait for as long as it takes because I am with you, together, as One.
What Happens When Love Is Conditional?
When conditional love exists in our relationships we may at some point decide to stop waiting. We may choose that we want more, that we want authentic love in our lives and not its shadow. Sometimes even though we love a person and want them to heal, we cannot do it for them or make it happen. Sometimes we need to let go of our attachment to a particular outcome and to hand it over to a higher power. To “let go and let God” as they say.
This may involve walking away and letting life do what it does best…taking care of things. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t love that person, or that we don’t love them still. It means that we have our own journey to take whatever that entails and that somewhere else we will find the love that we want, that is our fundamental birthright to receive, and the person and people who are able to receive our authentic love in return.
When conditional love exists in our relationships, we may at some point choose to have authentic love in our lives instead of its shadow. This may involve walking away and letting life do what it does best…taking care of things.
Consciously Choosing The Nature Of Our Relationships
No matter how we love or how our loved ones choose to love us, through applying awareness to our interactions with others, we are benefited by asking:
“Am I coming from a place of conditional love or unconditional love?”
How we then choose to act depends on what’s important to us. When we consciously choose for our friendships and other relationships to be unconditionally loving we set our loved ones free to live as they see fit. It also sets us free in the process. When we continue conditionally in our interactions, we’re not seeing things clearly and still have more to learn. The journey of life continues for us all.
In regards to my friend, we may have the same conversation in years to come. If we do, I’m sure we’ll both laugh again, appreciating that we’ve been friends for so long and that although our lives have been shaped by our decisions, often with years apart, that our friendship, our relationship is able to grow and evolve because it is unconditionally loving and that’s what’s important. Of course, he is free to walk away at any time, as I do not ask for unconditional love in return. It is something that can only be freely given.
What’s important to me is that my friend knows I value our friendship, our relationship, and that he has as long as he needs to attend to that matter. In fact, if it never happens, it never happens. I will always feel love for him no matter what he does or doesn’t do because my love is unconditional. It just is, no matter what.
What about you? How do you love in your relationships? Conditionally or unconditionally?