Nowadays dating can feel like “hell” to most people as with each passing day we feel that relationships are getting more and more complex. However, love is much simpler. Unconditional love may sound like a Buddhist way of loving oneself, but in reality, it simply means true love.
In this age of Instagram and Snapchat, where we’ve put so much pressure on living the perfect life, we’ve made our relationships so much more complicated than they need to be. As a result, our feelings of love are spoiled by expectations, insecurities, and dependence on others.
When we love someone without any expectations or thinking about what we can get in return from that individual, this becomes true and unconditional love.
When we love someone unconditionally, we care about their happiness and well-being without any demands. In a way, unconditional love begins with a true love for ourselves.
What is unconditional love?
Unconditional love is a simple feeling where you care about the other without having any expectations. This can be easier said than done. It’s basic human nature to expect it, especially from loved ones and this can lead to cracks in our relationships that can go unnoticed. Unconditional love is selfless and offers happiness even through sacrifice, if necessary. When you love the other person even when your relationship dreams and plans don’t come true, you can reach a level of love and affection where there will be no pain.
Letting go of expectations and realizing the perfect relationship will lead to a happier life for both of you.
If you love someone depending on certain factors such as what they can do for you, then this is conditional love. The act of loving oneself regardless of the circumstances is unconditional love. It means accepting them as they are without trying to change them.
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However, unconditional love does not mean being in a toxic relationship or tolerating abuse, betrayal, disrespect, or hurtful behavior in the relationship. To love someone unconditionally, you must start by loving yourself unconditionally. Self-love will enable you to develop the mental and emotional strength needed to love another person without wanting anything in return. At its core, unconditional is simply true love that consists of understanding and respecting yourself and your partner.
However, unconditional love doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t need your partner to love or support you when you need them. It just means that you don’t depend on someone else to feel happy inside of you. This state of love can only be cultivated through a strong sense of self-esteem, self-love, and self-confidence.
Love unconditionally to build stronger relationships
Loving someone unconditionally is a feeling that requires us to reveal our weaknesses and vulnerabilities to someone who has a strong belief that we want our partner to be happy, no matter the outcome. It is more about how you make the other person feel rather than how you feel when they are with you. At this age, unconditional love can be a foreign concept to us.
Therefore, we must be honest with our feelings and monitor our thoughts toward the other person. Are your feelings for this person real? Does your love depend on certain factors? Could your ego result in certain situations that might hurt the person you love?
Can you love someone unconditionally?
Loving someone unconditionally isn’t going to be easy for anyone unless it’s on the inside. If you are protecting your partner or the person you love from the challenges and hardships, if you are preventing them from making mistakes and learning from them, if you are protecting them from the hardships of life, then you certainly do not love them unconditionally.
Life is hard and we all have to face challenges to grow and move forward. When you prevent them from experiencing what life has in store for them, you are robbing them of all the experiences they are meant to have.
Defending them against certain feelings and experiences just because you don’t want to see them suffer is not going to help them in any way. Telling your loved ones the truth, guiding them, helping them through difficulties, and communicating kindly and without judgment to help them grow is true love.
Unconditional love means loving and accepting the other person as they are without feeling the need to mold them into your perception of what they should be.
When you understand this subtle difference, you will realize how unique they are and build a loving relationship. Only when you love them the way they are will they be able to accept you and love you the way you are? This is the basis of a lasting romantic relationship.
Understanding unconditional love is one thing, but developing the feeling is an entirely different story. Although unconditional love can be a little tricky to come by, you can feel it with a little practice.
6 Simple ways to love unconditionally
It can be hard to love someone unconditionally, especially when that feeling isn’t mutual. Here are some helpful ways to practice unconditional love and develop a mutually happy relationship.
- Love yourself first unconditionally
First things first, love yourself. The importance of self-love cannot be overemphasized as this is the secret of unconditional love. Loving another person can be easier than loving yourself. Unless you know how to love yourself unconditionally, you will not be able to love others unconditionally. Why? If your feelings and happiness depend on how much your partner loves you or how much attention you get from them, it will always be conditional. So, start by giving yourself the love you would like to receive and giving others.
- Think of love as a behavior, not an emotion
Imagine this, your partner taking you on a romantic date or taking you on a vacation to Hawaii. You will feel loved and love them more in return. However, if they cancel the plan at the last minute without any notice, will that affect how you feel about them? Can it change your behavior towards them? If the answer is yes, then you know that your love is conditional.
However, if you act a certain way with your partner regardless of their behavior or what they do for you, your emotions and behavior will be under your control and will not affect your relationship. When your love is not dependent on the actions of the other person, you will be able to love unconditionally.
- Choose to love unconditionally
When it comes to love, there is no single philosophy or belief that applies to all of us. Because we are all unique individuals, we all have unique relationships with exceptional experiences and challenges. When you consciously choose and decide to love someone unconditionally, there is a mental shift in your mindset. This allows you to gain a whole new perspective and approach relationship challenges in a different way. You will learn something new about yourself and your partner every day.
- Accept that love can be painful
True love can hurt sometimes. The more you love, the harder you suffer from pain.
Hence, you need to be able to accept the fact that loving someone isn’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows. There will also be dark clouds, lightning, thunder, and rain.
When you accept this fact of life and still decide to give the other person all the love in your heart, you will be able to love unconditionally. We learn from pain and get stronger each time we overcome it. When you accept how they feel about you and still shower them with love, you will find peace and happiness within yourself.
- Learn to forgive
Unconditional love is not about forgiving abuse or cheating. But you have to accept that we are only human and that we make a lot of mistakes in life, especially in relationships. So when your partner makes a mistake, instead of following your instincts and letting your emotions control you, make sure you first try to understand where they are coming from. Empathy will allow you to understand their side of the story and interact in a more mature, kinder, and better way that will enhance your bonding.
If you have been hurt or disappointed by the person you love, start by letting go of your expectations, healing, and forgiving yourself.
Forgiveness will empower you as you let go of your anger and your limiting beliefs will set you free. When you choose to let go of negative feelings and respond lovingly and respectfully, you will learn to love unconditionally.
- Experience love in its purest form
You can develop a special and unique relationship with the person you love when you choose to let go of expectations and enjoy love. This will help you build a strong foundation that will be free of insecurities and possessiveness. Your love will become pure and sincere, not dependent on satisfying your desires and interests. Do not try to modify or change the person of your affection.