The meaning of unconditional love
Like many of us, I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mother suffered with a mental illness which made her unable to empathize or show compassion, even to her children.
My father, on the other hand, was distant and unemotional. Neither of them offered encouragement or direction.
They never seemed to care about me, so I worked hard to try and win their love.
I grew up feeling like love had to be earned, and I never could seem to do the right things to get it.
Unconditional love is love you don’t have to earn. You should be able to make mistakes every day and still be worthy of love.
Maybe you are missing that kind of no-strings-attached love in your life.Unconditional love is love you don't have to earn. Click To Tweet
Looking back on a life filled with limited affection, I’ve discerned six conditions people place on love.
In subtle ways they tell you they will withdraw their devotion if you fail to meet one or more of these demands:
1. You entertain me.
This condition says I will withdraw love if you want to talk about your problems or get too heavy with your needs.
This condition causes us to detach from our true selves as we keep things light regardless of dark feelings.
We withhold ourselves for the pleasure of the other person. Rather than challenging that person to see us as we are, we hide.
Both people are denied the right to grow and change and self-reflect. Without a savior, it is too scary to enter into your dark side.
2. You keep my secrets.
This often happens in families when the scapegoat or whistle blower finds herself ostracized and abused simply for pointing out the truth. Rather than face their problems, the family demonizes the scapegoat.
They pretend to themselves they’re all right while the scapegoat is all wrong. Only if she goes along with the lie, will she retain their love.
3. You give me sex.
This one is self-explanatory and happens all too often in the modern dating world. You get the message they can get it somewhere else if you don’t comply with their demand.
This culture keeps both men and women giving into something they may not want. Giving away sex only semi-consensually takes a huge toll on the soul.
4. You fulfill my needs.
This sounds okay, even like a love song, but can be dangerous when you are expected to meet another’s needs in order to receive their love.
“That’s why we need Jesus,” my friend said, which came as a huge relief to me.
When I discovered no human being could fulfill all my needs, I could let them off the hook and just love them.
5. You make things easy for me.
Similar to #1, this kind of faux love requires you not to rock the boat. You are asked to maintain the status quo, pretending things are fine when they’re not.
You don’t question the person when they let you down. Nor do you challenge them to do better. You are unfailingly supportive even when it makes you sick and exhausted.
6. You must be successful/perfect.
I had always suspected my family would reject me if I messed up. Those fears were realized when my marriage ended and they refused to support me.
As long as I agreed not to talk about my divorce, they would continue to tolerate me. Of course, that became a “love” I could no longer bear.
I learned to turn to God for love instead and accept the limitations of my human family.
True unconditional love
Perhaps you have suffered some or all these conditions on love and even live under them now. Maybe you’ve never known unconditional love.Love with caveats is no love at all because it's constantly at risk of being lost. Click To Tweet
Love with caveats is no love at all because it’s constantly at risk of being lost. True love is secure and withstands human error.
If the people in your life won’t love you without conditions it’s not your fault, it’s theirs. It means they’re afraid of feeling exposed and vulnerable. A weakness on their part they refuse to face.