Unconditional love isn’t real.
That’s a bold statement, but hear me out.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people (my damn self included) say the phrase, “I love him/her/you unconditionally.”
Look, everything in life has a condition, if not several conditions. Love is not excluded from this tenant. We all want the flowers and butterflies and unicorns that love promises, but that still comes with conditions.
Look at it this way-- A condition is just a boundary, and I’m sure everyone has boundaries. I feel fairly positive in saying that most of us would consider such a thing as “murder” a boundary; Wherein, if our partner committed an egregious crime, such as murder, we would more than likely separate ourselves from such a garbage human. Right? Right. (Of course there are circumstances that defy these notions and offer us an interesting psychological perspective to the damaging effect(s) of abuse on a partner, loved one, etc, and how repeated offenses can turn the harmed individual into the perpetrator’s greatest advocate, but that is for another day.)
So, why then state that any love is unconditional? Even the love of a parent for a child. I know that parents have boundaries with their kids (I’m a human with a parent, so I’m well aware), and even such crimes as assault and murder have caused the parents of the offender to take a step back and reevaluate their relationship to their child.
Why? Because love is not unconditional. We all have conditions, boundaries, and the like, to which we are capable of moving within. We all have a level of comfortability that can be stretched at times, and we can even grow as humans, but we still have boundaries that are immovable.
The phrase is used carelessly and without complication. I, for one, would love to see it stricken from the records of our vocabulary and cultural vernacular as we blaze forward on our spinning rock of air and water and matter. I would love to see actual conversations arise from being able to let our partner, loved one, friend, etc, know just what our boundaries are. Can you imagine the conversation?
“I love you so much, babe.”
“Really? Do you love me unconditionally?”
“No. I have boundaries and I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something that’s been bothering me.”
CONVERSATIONAL DOOR OPENED. If you find you have the door slammed in your face, maybe that’s a soft indicator that that person needs a bit more self-work and self-care before you continue on. How about this--
Whenever you hear this phrase uttered (hopefully from someone you know and not just passing by a couple on the street, but hey, you do you), I genuinely hope you will provide a little gentle insight as to why that phrase is incorrect, thus, opening a door to dialogue about what you need, what they need, and how we all can just be better communicators and humans, overall.