Over the past couple of months I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about love and it’s meaning. What we are supposed to do with it? If it is real? If it is conditional or unconditional? There are so many relationships with love and about love, I thought this would be a very good topic to cover in this entry. First I’d like to give the definition as I found it on Google.
Now, reading through these definitions that I found on Google, this is quite extensive. Love as defined on the dictionary can be quite different than “love” as we humans use the word. People associate love by what they have learned love to me. Let’s start with children and seeing their moms and dads and they way they are are with them mom/child; dad/child, mom and dad/ children, and mom/dad with each other. Not all couples have a “healthy” loving relationship. And that goes back to their childhood and what they have learned loved to be. This makes a cycle within families. One of two things happen, they choose to show love as their parents did with them, or they choose to do it differently because they feel their parents’ love was not real love. After all, the first relationships we see that are supposed to have love are the ones I’ve just mentioned. They are what defines love for us.
What is love supposed to be? Keep in mind this is my opinion and what I’ve learned through my life. Love is an emotion that is deep feeling of affection and endearment for another person. While we can have a love for a thing or a place, I will not be addressing those in this blog. The way we love our parents is different from how we love our children, and our partners, whether those partners be husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, friends. So there are so many different kinds of relationships. Of course, the best love is the real kind, the kind. Unfortunately, not all love is real, even though some may think it is. A real love, is the kind that makes you feel as though you can’t live without the other person, you can’t breathe without them. A loss of the person, would be horrific. I’m not saying that you can’t live without them, or that you can’t breathe without them, because we all know that’s not true. What I am saying is that’s what the feelings are. And the real love is a horrific loss. Love can, of course, be one sided, but that is truly a tragedy. To have an intense love for another and not have it returned is beyond sad.
What is unconditional love vs conditional love? Unconditional love is a love with absolutely no strings attached? In other words, you remove your love or hold it back because the other person is not doing something you want them to, or they are doing something you want them not to do. Conditional love is has all sorts of strings attached to it. Let’s use the example of if you don’t change your body size, you need to lose 15 pounds or I just can’t be with you, or you don’t like the same things that I like. I’m into sports and you’re into nature. I could no more go play in nature than you could enjoy watching a football game. There are so many conditions that can be put on love, and most of the time people don’t even realize when they are putting conditions on it.
Let’s say that a child sees their parents fighting all the time, verbally or physically, the child then associates love with those things. Let’s say one or the other has a substance abuse issue, whether they stay together or leave over the issue, it is associated with love to that child. Then when they grow and begin to have relationships they will either mimic it, or be determined no to relive that in their own life. What if the parent abuses the child through discipline? Well, we’ve seen time and time again where people repeat this cycle. It’s used as a defense in child abuse cases too many times to count.
You can begin a relationship with an unhealthy love, if it is real love, and then change it to be a healthy unconditional love. The first thing is that you must recognize that is, indeed, an unhealthy love. And then try to get your partner to recognize the same, and you work towards making it healthy and unconditional. Unconditional love is not easy in the beginning, but as you work at it, it becomes easier and second nature. If you’d like to see an example of true unconditional love, we should look to our pets. We can yell at them, blame them for having accidents in the house, (when in reality that’s our fault for not being sure they’ve been taken out/ or the litter box is not cleaned), even physically abuse them, and they keep coming back hoping you will love them and accept them. Now, that’s true unconditional love.
Some people associate love with the purchasing of gifts and material acquisitions. If you think about it, love has nothing to do with either. It’s the opening and giving of one’s self to another, no matter what that relationship is. It can be friends, loved ones, relatives, husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, and the list goes on. There can be givers and takers. One can be totally a giver and the other a total taker. This kind of love will depend on what the relationship is whether or not it lasts. Friendships may not, but family relationships may, but even in those sometimes one will walk away from the other. People that are totally one way or the other will often complain that they are the opposite of what their true nature is. Keep in mind there has to be a balance in giving and taking in relationships. If the scales tip too far one way or the other, it may be headed for trouble.
In closing, I challenge you to look at your relationships and determine what kind of love you have. And they can be different depending on which kind they are. In other words, you and your partner may have unconditional love, and you and your mom or dad have something that you consider to be conditional. The biggest challenge of all is to redefine those that are conditional to make them unconditional, at least on the part that you have control over, and that is your own feelings.
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