My husband and I were walking and talking discussing the topic of unconditional love. He asked what the conditions are for unconditional love, and then burst out laughing at the conundrum his question implied.
No conditions. It reminded us of a process we ran for years in our On Course personal empowerment training. Two people would sit facing each other. One would say “I love you unconditionally.” The other person would think of what they were afraid would sever the connection of love.
What if I leave you?
What if I disparage you?
What if I leave the top off the toothpaste?
What if I get fat?
What if I get sick?
What if I was broke?
What if I lost my job?
What if I didn’t agree?
What if I get angry?
What if I forget to take out the trash?
What if I disappoint you?
And on and on the list grew with the only response, I love you unconditionally until it came to be that there was nothing left. No fear that would sever the connection from one person to another, not some event from history or life today as it unfolds.
It was transformational, everyone walked out of the training with a glow of unconditional love. Then they ran into their first conflict. Bam! How do you make unconditional love a practice rather than a memory of what’s possible? It’s simple really. Just revise your point of view.
I’ve had two recent conflicts that reminded me to revise my point of view. And do you know the most common point of view to revise? Whichever one that makes you right and the other person wrong! Conflict is hard. It’s a collision of points of view. But it only takes one to revise to unconditional love. The past disappears as an overpowering imperative to hang on to hurt feelings, wrongs, or indignation, and instead creates a pathway to greater awareness.
Maya Angelou reminded us that history in all of its anguish and pain cannot be unlived. But if faced with courage can be a catalyst to create life anew. It takes courage to allow love to come through when life delivers a blow or a raw deal.
I told my daughter when she was 16 years old that she couldn’t screw it up with me. No matter what I loved her unconditionally. We still laugh over the truth of that moment.
So when life doesn’t meet my expectations or delivers a blow to my self-image, I take a breath and respond to an inner alarm to use what’s happening to wake up. Look around. The world whether it’s at work or with your family doesn’t need more animosity. We need the generosity of spirit that love brings. We need the truth spoken with love.
When I’m upset or concerned, I nudge aside the limits of how I think life should be. I step outside of my predictable thinking to find an unlimited universe of possibilities. That’s where I continue to discover the practice of unconditional love as a way of seeing in the world.
Consider that love is your nature. When you practice unconditional love you affirm your nature. Don’t confuse love with attraction, need, or dependence. Love makes you strong not weak. Love allows you to live and laugh with awareness instead of attachment to any one point of view. Love is enduring and forgiving.
So when you’re stuck in an endless cycle of concern about something or other practice unconditional love with yourself, others, and the situation itself, and see what emerges. It may release the regret and forge your strength to carry on.
I find the words of Martin Luther King inspiring: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”