We've all heard the term unconditional love, and it means something slightly different to each of us. According to Dictionary.com, it is a noun that means "affections with no limits or conditions; complete love". Just a simple noun, right? As we go through life loving and eventually getting hurt (because no one is perfect), we discover that this simple noun is quite the opposite of simple.
Loving someone without limits or conditions requires us to love someone despite what they might do; despite their mistakes, flaws, and imperfections. It is usually fairly easy to love someone despite their flaws because the person typically comes with those. However, to love someone who hurts you intentionally or not is much more difficult. Yet, some of us get through the stages of anger and sorrow, and eventually move onto forgiveness. We allow ourselves to love that person and let go of the pain or resentment we once felt. So that must be it! We worked hard, we gave them our forgiveness (as if it was a prize we reluctantly handed out), and we loved them through it all. That's clearly enough.. isn't it? No, it's not. This is what I have been learning over the past couple years.
To love someone unconditionally is not enough. You don't just get to 'bless that person with your love'. I have come to realize that forgiving and loving someone is not just a feeling I have that I might every once in a while express in words, but instead it should be the actions I take and how I treat that person. So I have to ask myself: have I been acting loving towards the person that I love unconditionally? Have I been treating them with respect? Have I truly been caring about their needs and wants, and balancing their priorities with my own? This is something that I'm realizing I need to work on. I knew to forgive and to move forward. I had come to the conclusion that I loved this person unconditionally because I didn't let their mistakes change my feelings towards them. Yet, I acted as though I was owed something; like I deserved more and that my opinions, needs, or wants mattered more. I stopped truly showing or expressing how much I care. This is a problem I think far too many of us have.
Loving someone unconditionally means so much more than letting go; it means cherishing that person for all of their great qualities. We can't expect others to be perfect, or grant them a mistake and then treat them differently, forgetting why we loved them in the first place. My parents taught me this lesson better than anyone else. I wasn't exactly a breeze to raise, and there were many times I made mistakes. However, my parents loved me unconditionally AND had loving actions. They continue to encourage me, care about me, and place my needs above their own. They did not just claim to love me despite my mistakes and then leave me to fend for myself.
Whether a friend, family member, or significant other, we should all spend a little more time showing loving actions towards one another. Then when we can do that, we can truly say we've loved unconditionally.
Love is a big part of my life, so here I will do my best to give you a glimpse of what it means to me.
For the next year or so, it will be the primary destination for wedding planning updates.