Do you know how to love unconditionally?
Many don’t know how to love unconditionally. In fact, they don’t really even know what that means or even feels like. Worse yet, they don’t know how to get themselves to a state of unconditional love. This is sad – it makes us unhappy. And, as a result we find ourselves alone.
Fortunately, it is possible to learn how to love unconditionally. It takes practice. “Vision, patience, and persistence,” as I’ve taught my kids to say. Anything is possible and I want to teach you how you keep unconditional love out of your life and attract it back to you.
A Story of An Unhappy Marriage
A client came to see me because she was troubled by the way her husband treated her. She said, “He’s cruel to me. He calls me names. He tells me that I make him sick and to not touch him.”
She was devastated because a newly married woman, this was not her ideal of marriage.
So, I asked her, “What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of your husband?”
We followed this train of thought (think about it, train) because this train was carrying a heavy load and was on one track racing somewhere – and I wanted to find out where it took us.
I eventually learned that this client’s very first memory of the loneliness, embarrassment, chaos, and confusion she feels in her marriage originated when she was four years old when her mother dropped her off to an abusive baby sitter.
She remembered that she felt so helpless, scared, and uncomfortable as a child. What she really wanted was protection, understanding and compassion for the reason why she felt unwilling to stay at the baby sitter. More importantly, we discovered together, that she felt angry at herself for not being able to articulate how she felt and why she felt so awful. She was also angry with the belief that if her mother loved her and “had her s**t together” she wouldn’t have left her in the first place.
As a result of these revelations, she had come to learn that when it comes to relationships they are all dysfunctional and abusive because people don’t understand each other for two important reasons: A) Because people don’t know what they want and how to communicate AND B) people don’t have the awareness to understand how another person feels. She built her dating life and now her marriage upon these fundamental beliefs. And, as a result, her reality.
When I asked her what she really wanted her husband to know about her she said, “I’m awesome. I’m human and imperfect, but I’m pretty damn good! I have my shit together and I don’t need to fight and grind to have my needs met. But I have to learn to communicate!”
I asked her what it would be like if she could say that to her husband: “You’re awesome. You’re human and imperfect, but you’re pretty damn good! You have your shit together and you don’t need to fight and grind to have your needs met. But you have to learn to communicate!”
Why We Don’t Love Unconditionally
With the aforementioned beliefs and the suggestion of telling her husband what she most wanted validation on, she was resistant. The resistance was two-fold:
1) If she accepted that she is responsible for manifesting the abuse as a result of her beliefs that her marriage was a manifestation of ineffective communicators who couldn’t decide what they wanted out of life and were incapable of empathizing with each other, then she would be forced to forgive her husband.
2) If she forgave him of his cruelty and showered him with the love that she wanted, then that would mean in her mind that she was enabling him to be an abuser.
Consequently, my client believed that withholding her presence and affection from her husband would teach him not to be so vicious; albeit knowing full well that this method would not solve her problem anyway. So, she felt stuck within this paradigm. She wants to love him, but only if he “gets his s**t together.”
She’s not alone. In fact, so many of us believe that this is how we must love each other. We withhold love to teach a lesson. We withhold forgiveness so that they know that we disapprove of their behavior. And still, we all know, this method doesn’t produce the results we so desperately want from that other person: unconditional love.
What Is Unconditional Love
Loving someone unconditionally is the most powerful force in the world because it says, “You don’t have to be what I expect you to be. You don’t have to have your s**t together for me to love you just the way you are.”
Unconditional love is without expectation. That, no matter how someone loves us we can love and forgive them anyway. Unconditional love is not a place in which everything is perfect – but rather, unconditional love is a spirit that makes the imperfect whole.
In the space of unconditional love there is no pain. There is no suffering – because there is no attachment, no expectation. Unconditional love sets us free to love ourselves and others courageously and creatively.
And, furthermore, unconditional love means setting ourselves free of what we expect our relationships to be like. They don’t have to be “two ineffective communicators who can’t decide what they want out of life and are incapable of empathizing with each other.” It means that your relationship can exist outside of your parents’ paradigms and expectations – even those expectations of what you think life should be like. It means that you can create a free relationship outside of self-destructive attitudes and habits. What does a free relationship look like, anyway? That’s for you to decide!
Life Loves Me Unconditionally
With my client, I asked her, “Does life love you unconditionally?”
Her immediate answer was, “No.”
What an honest answer to a painful reality. I proposed that she could begin to choose to love her life unconditionally – to accept its imperfections and to come back to the truth that she is life manifested. And, if she didn’t like what she saw, she could change her beliefs, thoughts, and habits that created that reality.
Furthermore, I proposed, that to experience unconditional love is to create a belief and vision of a world in which everything – even the cruel within it – is worthy of love. And, to start first with nourishing herself with loving thoughts and feelings. Because, if she could learn to be loving to herself, she would never let anyone the opportunity to be unloving to her. In that regard, her marriage could change – no matter what she chose – to leave or stay and make it work. Either way, her marriage would be transformed in the vision of unconditional love.
Do You Struggle With How To Love Unconditionally?
Stories like my client’s are not uncommon. In fact, I help many professionals struggling with the desire to love their spouses. If you have a story of learning how to love unconditionally, I want to hear it. Leave a comment or reach out at hello at leslieinc.org.
Which Guide Pack Goes With This Episode’s Theme?
While you’re here, set yourself free from an unhappy marriage with a Leslie Inc. guide pack.
The Mountain Highs Guide Pack is a perfect solution for those suffering from anger, regret, and unforgiveness in their marriage. After a decade of coaching couples, I have designed the Mountain Highs Guide Pack to help break through the resentment that lingers after traumatic experiences. Take the Happiness Assessment to be absolutely sure this Guide Pack is right for you.
Leslie, Inc. offers solutions for finding happiness through one-on-one coaching, mindful leadership retreats, and digital products. If you’re ready to GET HAPPY, check out Leslie’s guide packs. Take the Happiness Assessment To Find Out Which Life Area Stresses You Most.