Unconditional love… is it a myth?
The definition of unconditional love is simply to love someone without conditions put upon that love. A person would have to love someone unselfishly and to care about the happiness of the other person without expecting the other person to pay back that love. To love someone unconditionally, a person must be willing to do anything to help the other person feel happiness without expecting anything in return.
Unconditional love also means that a person must be willing to accept the other person, faults and all, with no expectation that the other person will ever change.
Unconditional love is hard… dare I say impossible… for humans to achieve.
Most people assume that all parents love all their children unconditionally. I can personally tell you that is not always true.
As a child, I realized that the “love” and “acceptance” I received from my parents definitely had conditions. Sometimes I knew those conditions, but most often, I did not. It was always a guessing game, and I lost most of the time.
In romantic relationships, it’s much harder. For instance, most people fall for a person because there is some strong chemical attraction, also known as infatuation. The feeling is often so intense that most people think it is LOVE. However, it is very often short-lived and more often, just lust.
So what happens when that infatuation causes a person to commit themselves to the other person? Chaos eventually ensues.
Let me explain:
When I met Rico, I was in the process of ending a very long and very complicated marriage. My ex was a serial cheater, and I had spent years trying to change him and force him to love only me and stop running around, having affairs. It didn’t work (that sort of thing rarely does). I did not love my ex-husband unconditionally. I didn’t know how.
So there I was, in the midst of an emotional earthquake, and I met Rico. I was instantly attracted to him. He was exactly what I had been looking for. I thought then that it was “love at 1st sight”. He was similarly attracted to me (read infatuated), so we began a whirlwind romance.
Eleven plus years later, and we are struggling to find that intense “love” (read lust/passion) we felt for each other back then. To be honest, we’ve been struggling with that for about five or six years now. However, we are very committed to each other and to our marriage.
Because of this struggle, things have happened and both of our hearts have been broken. Despite all of that, we still want to make things right and to remain together. Thus, we have both begun on the path to discovering and truly knowing what love is (I know – that song started playing in my head as soon as I typed those words).
This is how I stumbled upon the “unconditional love” concept. I’ve heard it before. It’s not new, but I don’t think I’ve ever really understood it. My exposure to the concept has mostly been from a Judeo Christian/religious standpoint. Agape – the “God” kind of love (i.e., unconditional) was the goal for all in that world. But I can’t remember anyone ever really explaining it to me… I don’t recall ever being taught how to do it.
As I have researched and dug and read everything I can find on the subject, I am beginning to gain some understanding. It all seems to boil down to acceptance without condition. If I can accept Rico exactly as he is without trying to change him, then I can easily love him unconditionally. The two things seem to go hand in hand.
I think Rico drinks too much alcohol too often. He thinks he drinks just the right amount of alcohol (lol). I want him to stop drinking entirely. He is willing to compromise and drink less, but not stop entirely. I haven’t been able to accept that. I want it MY way. I want him to stop completely, dammit! Because I haven’t been willing to accept his offer of a compromise, we fight over this issue. However, the REAL issue here is that I want to be in control – my way or the highway.
This same scenario plays out in our marriage in a lot of different ways, so what is the real problem? I’ve come to realize the real problem is that I’m a control freak and I need to fix myself. I need to accept him for who he is and where he is and concern myself with my own issues.
I need not concern myself with changing Rico or fixing his problems, because that’s not my job. HE is in charge of himself, and I am in charge of myself. The fact that we are married and in a contractual agreement does not change that. On our wedding day, he did not grant me permission to control his life any more than I granted him permission to control mine. However, because we love each other and respect each other, we try very hard not to hurt each other by doing things that are selfish (it doesn’t always work).
In learning this new (to me) truth, I have found that it is easier to love Rico. I can actually let him be who he is, and enjoy it. I can actually allow him to be himself and in doing so, I am discovering anew what I loved about him in the first place.
Additionally, since I no longer have to “fix” him, I have much more time to work on the wounded parts of myself that need healing. Some of those wounds are old and very deep. Some of them are new and fresh. Some of them are self-inflicted, and some of them were caused by people who claimed to love me unconditionally. No matter how or when I received the wounds, I must tend to them myself. It’s not Rico’s job to heal me – it’s mine and mine alone. It’s not Rico’s job to make me a whole person – to complete me – it’s totally up to me to be everything to myself.
I’m grateful for the universe showing me this truth. It’s something that is very new to me, so I’m sure I will revert back to my old controlling self now and again. But now that I’ve seen the light, I hope to never return to that old darkness. I hope to continue on this new enlightened path and eventually get to a place where I can love Rico (and everyone else) unconditionally.
Will Rico and I remain married? Who knows? However, we are working on it, and working on ourselves, so no matter the outcome, we will both be better humans in the end!
I ask again:
Unconditional love… is it a myth?
My answer is: No – not a myth, but extremely difficult to do.