The majority of us want what we want. We want others to understand us, to fit with us, to walk by our sides as we walk the path of life. There is a lie that many still believe and it is the lie of unconditional love. We are expected to gaze starry eyed into the eyes of our beloveds as we pledge our undying love until death do us part. We actually believe from that day we will never change, we will cease to grow and we will commit our lives to another come hell or high water. We will forsake our individual aspirations and ways of being. We will light one candle and become one and dance away the night amidst well wishers of family and friends. Unbeknownst to us many of these well wishers know the game that we eventually learn. There are not many who can accept another warts and all. The characteristics and traits we once found so endearing in our mates can be the ones that eventurally irritate and the ones we hope to change.
A few days ago I watched as a young woman kissed her sweet baby’s head while explaining to a friend her theory of this little bundle of joy giving its love so completely and unconditionally. I wondered where we had gotten this notion that anything is capable of loving unconditionally? The cries, screams and anger of a needy baby is anything but unconditional.
In order to love unconditionally, one has to accept another exactly as is flaws and all. One has to allow the other to be. Loving is not controlling. Of course that does not mean we have to accept the flaws or the natural way of others as we always have the freedom to walk away. A friend recently spoke of the love she had for her husband although she could not live with his addiction to alcohol. She talked about his good nature and character and loved his heart but she could not live with his addiction. She released him to pursue his journey and to claim responsibility for his life. Expressing her love and gratitude she refused to accept his behavior.
We can still love and allow one to be at the same time maintaining healthy boundaries for ourselves. When others fail to live according to our standards we often lash out in anger, isolating and distancing. As right as we may feel in our beliefs, we cannot understand why another cannot see things the way we do. We expect the other to become a version of ourselves. We forget about individuality and dreams. To truly love one without condition, we must want the very best for those we love. We want to encourage and support and we want them to be the very best of themselves they envision. Often when we love someone unconditionally we must release them to pursue that vision for themselves. When we are mired in control or our own insecurities that becomes a difficult task. It is now always about us.