You know, the kind we see in the movies. The kind where the person can do no wrong and are loved fully and truly as they are. Ah, so beautiful.
I must admit, I’m one of those sappy romantics who believe it’s possible and wants nothing more than to experience it in my own life.
And, boy, do I try. I want nothing more than to love my partner unconditionally — so why is it so hard sometimes?
I’m not suggesting that to give unconditional love is easy but I wondered if I might be missing something. I realized I was going about it in the wrong order. I was focusing all of my efforts on loving him unconditionally. And when I found myself feeling frustrated when I couldn’t seem to muster up the ability to do it, I couldn’t quite understand why.
What does it even mean to love unconditionally? According to one article I read, it means releasing judgment and accepting others as they are and choosing to act in a loving manner always.
Have you ever wanted unconditional love?
Or maybe you’re one of those people who believe it doesn't exist. I don’t blame you. It’s hard to believe it exists when we experience it so seldom and when most of us have been going about it all wrong.
If we want to experience unconditional love, we have to start by giving it to ourselves.
This was my big “ah-ha” moment. Maybe it’s painfully clear to everyone else but it just recently clicked for me. I began to realize that if we can’t love ourselves unconditionally we’ll never be able to experience unconditional love elsewhere.
Well, because the way we see ourselves is how we see the world. So, if there is something I don’t like about myself, it’s going to become a sore spot for me when I see it another.
How can we have unconditional love for someone who possesses the qualities or does things that we don’t like about ourselves? We can’t.
Before we can even begin to love someone else fully and truly for who they are, we first must love ourselves that way.
Stop judging ourselves.
That voice that says “I can’t believe you just did that” or “That was so stupid” or “Why am I always so needy?” needs to go. Judgment is a total joy kill and it makes loving ourselves unconditionally impossible. When we judge ourselves we are placing a condition on ourselves that says “If only I were better, then I could love myself."
Accept ourselves for who we are.
Yup, despite the number on the scale or what others say about us or how much money we have in the bank. Life is cyclical. It ebbs and flows. We have ups and downs. We need to remember that in this moment we accept where we are. It might not be where we “want to be" but that doesn’t matter. When we are unwilling to accept who we are we are placing a condition on ourselves that says, “If only I were different, then I could love myself."
Choose to act in a loving manner with ourselves — always.
This shows up in how we talk to ourselves and how we take care of ourselves. Do we say kind things? Do we get enough sleep? Do we fuel our bodies with healthy foods? Do we care for ourselves the way we would care for another? Do we put our needs first? When we choose not to act in a loving manner we are placing a condition on ourselves that says, “When I feel good about myself, then I can treat myself better."
If we are unwilling to love ourselves in this way, we can’t expect to show it to others.
Because each time they do something that irks us or triggers us, it will be so much harder for us to accept it and not judge it if we haven’t first developed that same kind of compassion within ourselves.
It’s a heck of a lot easier to accept someone for being late when we have already done the work to accept ourselves those times when we did the same thing.
Let’s do the work ourselves first. Then, we can think about extending this type of love to others.
And once we’ve learned how to love ourselves unconditionally and begin to extend that to those around us, we create space for them to do the same thing.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
What is one way you can show yourself more unconditional love? Share below and inspire others by leading the charge and providing some food for thought.