“The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional.” Stephen Kendrick
Loving unconditionally is easy to say, living it is so much more difficult.
When my husband is telling me how beautiful I am and doing the things that make me happy, I am loving toward him and think loving thoughts about him. When he does something that makes me feel hurt or tells how frustrated he is with me, I shut down or punch back and become hurtful in return.
That’s loving conditionally.
When we feel heard and understood, that feels like standing in the sun; it’s lovely and easy to reciprocate. When we don’t feel understood or valued; it feels lonely and it’s difficult to reach for loving thoughts, especially in that moment.
That’s loving conditionally. And it’s a very painful way to live.
Some people are remarkably easy to love. I wish everyone was like my niece who calls me for no reason except just to tell me she hopes I have a great day. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was like that? Loving would feel so effortless.
But inevitably, some people require more effort from us to love. Those are probably the people we most need to love, because they are likely our greatest teachers. After all, we tend to learn the most from the greatest challenges in our lives, not from the experiences that feel easy and effortless.
Loving conditionally places us in the role of being a victim, because we’re then completely at the mercy of how other people show-up in the relationship and treat us. It’s completely dependent upon whether or not they’re meeting our expectations for them.
Loving unconditionally gives us back all of our power.
I teach people how to love unconditionally, but I would be lying if I told you I did it perfectly all the time. Loving unconditionally is probably the hardest work we will do in this life.
Don’t hold yourself to a bar of perfection; that’s impossible.
Instead, just look for windows of opportunity to open your heart where fear tells you to shut it all down.
Look for moments of where you interrupt the pattern for yourself and choose to love.
Challenge the thoughts that are screaming at you that He should be different, and look for the ways in that moment that you can be different.
That’s where all your power is (and it’s the only thing you have any control over anyway).
That’s where all your peace is (because trying to control another human being will always cause you unnecessary suffering).
That’s where we can intentionally invite more love into our lives and over time, love a bit more unconditionally.