But, let me try to express it plainly. People often say to me that they think it means loving someone more than you love yourself. Perhaps that is true to an extent. But it is important to realize that loving yourself unconditionally plays a part in it as well.
Love Is an Action
First of all, love isn’t a feeling. It’s an action. When another person makes us feel a certain way, and then we stop getting that feeling, we change our behavior toward them. When we change our behavior to receive love, that love becomes conditional. The reward then becomes the feeling you get because you acted in a certain way for another person just to get the reward, the feeling. Some of us keep up this behavior just to get the reward – that feeling of being loved. The other person has now put a “condition” on you so that you receive that feeling of love. Like Pavlov’s dog, you have been conditioned to behave in a certain way to receive the other person’s love.
Unconditional Love Involves the Most Loving Thing You Can Do for a Person in a Specific Moment
Unconditional love has no strict rules. It’s different for everyone. What you do for another person has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. It doesn’t mean shielding someone from pain because pain and diversity foster growth. Loving someone blindly, satisfying their every need and want or preventing them from experiencing pain doesn’t mean you are giving them unconditional love. This will only prevent them from growing as human beings. Just consider the kindest, most loving thing you can do for another in that moment in time. If it is give the person space to be alone, then do so. If it is to sit with the person, hold hands and say nothing until he or she is ready to talk, then do so. If it is to get that person help because he or she is in trouble (even though that help may mean tough love at the moment), then do so. Just understand that you don’t want to put “conditions” on that person. (If you do this, then I will continue to love you.)
Unconditional Love Should Be Given Freely to Everyone, Especially Yourself.
That means that there will be times where loving yourself unconditionally and doing what is best for you will occasionally put you out of step with another. (This goes back to not having conditions placed on yourself in order to be loved.)
“Love Means Never Having to Say You Are Sorry.” – Erich Segall
Famous words from a best-selling book and movie. While I think we should all apologize when we hurt someone else, it is best to let go of resentment and anger when someone causes us pain, even if the offending person doesn’t apologize. Being willing to forgive a mistake does not mean that you should let people walk all over you. How you act toward the offending person might vary, but your ability to love them unconditionally will become difficult if you hold on to negatives.
The More You Love Unconditionally, the Easier it Becomes
When you do consciously provide unconditional love to another, you will feel positive and energized, not burdened. Think of it as being a good friend which in turn will make you feel better about yourself and encourage you to maintain that behavior unconsciously.
Til Next Time,