A User's Guide to Unconditional Love
When you were younger, did you ever make a really, really bad mistake, like so bad that your blood turned ice cold? Maybe you made a bad mistake as an adult. I’m not talking about the “I forgot to take the trash out” kind of mistake; I’m talking about a really big, ugly screw up that gets you fired—the one that you are ashamed of and would prefer to forget, forever and ever.
Perhaps I am the only one who has made a couple of these doozies in my life time...but I doubt it.
When you realized that your screwup was really, really bad, what did you want other people to do?
Yell at you? Berate you? Rub it in your face? Not likely. If you were like me, you were doing all those things to yourself already.
What you wanted was someone to hug you and love you in spite of your stupidity. You wanted to be loved unconditionally.
Unconditional love has curative powers beyond any drug. It is the warm salve that heals the wounds that have been inflicted by ourselves and others.
This type of love transcends transgressions and is above our petty humanness. It provides us with a soft pillow upon which to rest our heads.
The reason why this love is so powerful is because it means we are safe from judgment. Another word for judgment is conditions. When we judge something or someone, we put conditions on how they are supposed to be. Unconditional love means there are no conditions for being loved.
For example, if you go to the beach with the expectation of sunny days and you get rain, you may judge the vacation as not good, because you set the condition that only sunny days could mean vacation bliss. However, there is no reason a rainy vacation could not be the best vacation of your life if you remove your condition.
When it comes to people, we apply the same misguided, conditional thinking.
Unconditional love means we are safe from judgment.
When we feel safe, we don’t have existential fears, because we know that we can’t get anything wrong; we can’t screw up. We become brave and willing to fail, because there is no failure. Afterall, failure is a judgment.
Unconditional love is freedom. We become tolerant of others who see the world differently than we do. We become unattached to those who make decisions that exemplify values we do not share.
The beautiful Dionne Warwick tells us, “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” and I think she is right.
To reach your full potential this week, practice loving someone who is different from you, without judgment. Be the warm blanket that makes them feel safe in this world. If you don’t agree with them on something, simply remove that thing as a condition of your love.
(If you’ve been raised in the Christian church, as I was, then this message is not a new one. Yet it still remains the toughest.)