“Love… What is love? Love is to love someone for who they are, who they were, and who they will be.” Chris Moore
Today, it seems, we have an incredible amount of expectation of one another. The idea of unconditional love seems to have fallen by the wayside, as more and more of us want love, but are ill-prepared to give or even receive it.
To love someone under any circumstance is a true test of unconditional loving, and although it may seem simple, it is probably one of the toughest attributes to possess. This kind of love requires an unconditional love of yourself first, so you can have the strength of heart and mind to give the same to another human being. This is where we fall down. Within our society there seems to be so much pressure to be perfect that to love ourselves has become a pretty hard task to achieve, but it is the key to total, unconditional love of all others.
If you’ve never received unconditional love it can become hard to then give it out; however, below are seven ways you can practice how to love in this way and truly change your life.
1. Love is not how you feel, it is more about how you act
Try to think of love in this way and you won’t go far wrong. If you treat love as a feeling, when you are getting something from someone else and then you stop getting it then your feelings will change along with your behavior. An example of this is when you try to be someone you aren’t, or perhaps you have to do something in order to receive love: these then make love conditional. However, if you start to act a certain way and are not requiring someone else to be something they are not, then that love is unconditional. Your love is not based on what someone else does or says, which means you can continue to act the same way regardless of how other people behave.
2. Adapt your love to others
Love is received and given to others in many different forms and, unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy. Unconditional love is a conscious decision you make every day and in every new situation that comes along. There are no rules laid out for everyone, you apply it person by person.
3. Love can sometimes be uncomfortable
To truly love someone, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth, and in this instance trying to protect someone from being uncomfortable is not a sign of unconditional love. Pain and growth are part of life and shielding them from this is not love—if you only set out to make them feel satisfied and happy all the time you will do more harm than good! Unconditional love requires you to let them experience pain so that they will find their own way and grow at their own pace.
4. Give unconditionally to yourself, too
If you are a people pleaser, which many of us tend to be, you’ll be more interested in giving love to others rather than to yourself. The love you give to others will not be unconditional, because you’ll be allowing how they make you feel rule how much love you want to return to them. This is not unconditional. However, if you are constantly pleasing others you are lacking self-love. So give yourself unconditional love first, and the rest will come.
5. Learn forgiveness
This isn’t about allowing someone to wipe their feet all over you; it’s about choosing to react in a better way, a kinder way for yourself. If someone has hurt you or let you down, choose forgiveness by letting go of the anger and resentment you have towards them. How you act towards a specific person will change depending on what has happened, but if you choose to act lovingly and not hold on to negative feelings, you will love them unconditionally.
6. Show love to those whom you think don’t deserve it
This is great if you have people around you who are toxic to you and to others. Normally when someone else is negative towards you or about you, it means there is some lack in their own life that is preventing them from truly loving themselves. If you see this before you react, and put yourself in their shoes, it can help you in the situation because you know deep inside it is more to do with them than with you. It’s here where you decide to give unconditional love and give it more frequently. Being this way will provide a good pay off for them, but most importantly, for you, too.
7. Practice unconditional love every day
Try to do this at least once a day: give something and not be wanting anything in return. It can be letting someone through a door first, giving way to another car in a traffic jam, or telling someone you love them without expecting to hear it back in return. Do something every day and I promise—even though you don’t want anything in return—you’ll get a huge amount of pleasure from just giving unconditional love.
So how have you been practicing unconditional love recently?