Everyone likes the idea of unconditional love when it is something that is received. But love goes both ways and giving unconditional love isn’t something we like as much. There are also people who have false ideas about what unconditional love means. This can lead to unhealthy relationships and unrealistic expectations. So what does unconditional love mean?
What unconditional love is not
Before we get into the definition of what unconditional love really is, it is important to understand what unconditional love is not.
An excuse to do what you want
Unconditional love is not an excuse to do what you want in a relationship. If you think someone has unconditional love for you, that’s no reason to take advantage of it. It is not a reason to think that you can act as you want without any consequences in the relationship. If you think someone who has unconditional love for you means that you don’t have to put any effort into the relationship, you will be very disappointed.
A way to force someone to do what you want
Having unconditional love for someone doesn’t mean that you are able to force them to do what you want. It is not a means of negotiation. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should hold them over their head to control their behavior or their decisions.
If you unconditionally love someone who struggles with codependency, don’t take advantage of it and continue to allow it. Instead, you help him get the help he needs so he can have a healthy relationship.
This is not a reason to overlook bad behavior
Don’t be fooled into thinking that having unconditional love for someone means that you have to let them do whatever they want to do. If someone engages in dangerous, offensive, or risky behavior, it is not unconditional love to look the other way and let it continue. When you love someone unconditionally, you want the best for them. So even if you won’t stop loving him because of what he’s doing, you won’t ignore him and you won’t let him continue like that.
What is unconditional love
Now that you have a better understanding of what unconditional love is not, it’s time to explore what unconditional love is.
Many people have the misconception that if you love someone unconditionally, and they feel the same about you, there will be no problems in your relationship. This is simply not true. You don’t really know that you have unconditional love for a person until that love is tested.
Relationships go through difficult times. Some are more difficult than others. You may be faced with a time in your relationship when you have to decide whether you want to leave the relationship or if you want to continue. Sometimes it may seem like it’s best to leave. But if you love someone unconditionally, then you are willing to work through those tough times to keep your relationship together.
Unconditional love is selfless
This doesn’t mean you should never consider your own interest or do things you enjoy doing. But it means that you think about the other person. And that you are willing to give up the things you want to do to allow them to do the things they want to do.
There is a careful line that needs to be drawn between unconditional love and being a doormat. In a healthy relationship, there shouldn’t be one person who always has to give in to the other. It’s not about unconditional love or being selfish. Relationships should have to give and take, even when unconditional love is involved.
Unconditional love implies forgiveness
On the surface, it may seem easier to hold a grudge, be bitter, and walk away angry when something goes wrong and someone has hurt you. However, unconditional love is willing to forgive an offense. If you love someone unconditionally, you don’t take into account who “wins” the most battles or makes their way more often.
Unconditional love also means being willing to admit when you are wrong. Don’t let pride get in the way and ask for forgiveness yourself.
You can be yourself
When you are in a relationship with unconditional love, you can be completely yourself. Don’t feel the pressure of trying to be just like the other person or trying to put on a false front. Instead, you feel that there is a comfortable and safe space in your relationship where you can be 100% who you are. You don’t have to worry about being embarrassed around that person because you know they have your back.
Unconditional love is committed
If you truly love someone unconditionally, then you are committed to them. It’s not something that comes and goes or a feeling you have.
Unconditional love is a choice you have to make. There will be days when you wake up and you may not have warm, confusing feelings for the other person. When you love them unconditionally, you are willing to work beyond the lack of feelings you have in the moment and continue to show them love anyway.
How to love someone unconditionally
As we just discussed, unconditional love is a choice. This means that if you want to know how to love someone unconditionally, you need to be willing to do it even when you don’t feel like it.
You need to know that the other person is not perfect. At the beginning of the relationship, it’s easy to look past the imperfections the other person has. Even if everyone else sees them, you are blinded by them. When you love someone unconditionally, you are able to see those imperfections but choose to love them anyway.
One way to love someone unconditionally is to learn the best ways to show them, love. Find out what things they truly appreciate and what things make them feel loved. Once you know this, you can put the phrase “love is a verb” into action. Deliberately choose to do those things that they will regularly show that person that you love them
Learn to love yourself
If you don’t truly love yourself and don’t have healthy self-esteem, you won’t be able to show someone unconditional love the right way. What will happen is that you will seek the approval and actions of the other person to fill that need in yourself. When you love someone unconditionally, it’s not based on the fact that they love you too.
The healthier the relationship you have with yourself, the healthier the relationship you can have and find with someone else. When you love yourself correctly, you will also be able to show it better to others.
Look for ways to help her
When you love someone, you want to make their life easier. This can be in simpler activities like making lunch for them in the morning before they go to work or surprising them by putting gas in their car so they don’t have to stop the next time they’re driving.
Think about the person you love and what things would mean the most to them. Then start helping her in any way you can find
When you love someone unconditionally, you understand that everyone is different. They won’t be exactly like you, and that’s a good thing. If you spend all your time trying to change who they are, what they like, and the things they say, you’re not loving them unconditionally.
You may not always agree on everything, but you can still respect each other through those disagreements.
Struggle with love?
If you are struggling to understand what unconditional love is or what healthy love is like in a relationship, it can be really helpful to talk to a therapist. He or she can help you find out where your struggles are coming from and correct any misconceptions you have.
A common reason people struggle with unconditional love is because of the negative feelings they have about themselves or the negative experiences they have had in the past. All of these things can be addressed with the help of a therapist.