There is a funny story that I heard years ago about a super-rich man who asked his wife if she would still love him if he lost all of his money. “Sure I would my darling,” she replied, “I would still love you but I would miss you!”
So how about that for the definition of “conditional” love? (Not to mention honesty!)
Because of the multitude of complexities in my own love affair – glaring differences in age, economic circumstances, background, education, and experiences – I have been thinking and studying a lot lately about unconditional love. What does it mean exactly? And should it even be applicable to romantic love, or is it really only accurate when describing a parent’s love for their children or a dog’s love for his or her guardian? After all, I am the last person on earth who believes that anyone should ever be a martyr when it comes to love. If someone indulges in deal-breaking, abusive behavior, by all means love them but for God’s sake leave them.
I have come to the conclusion that as long as we enter a committed relationship with our eyes wide open – i.e. no denial as to who the other person is – then we must commit with the absolute intention of unconditional love. We must intend to let the other person just “be” – there must be no plans or hopes to alter them or to change them. You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.”
Yes, through a great deal of trial and error, it is glaringly obvious that I have to shift my focus from what changes my lover needs to make to what I need to do to be the best me that I can be. Let him be – work on me. It is after all, our differences that attracted us to each other in the first place. Every single positive character trait that we all have has a dark side and if we attempt to snuff out the dark side, we destroy the character trait entirely. It is classic Yin-Yang.
If this sounds like gibberish to you, let me explain by giving you an example. One of the traits that I find irresistible in my beautiful man is his spontaneity and not only is it irresistible but it’s also damn good for me. When I get bogged down in too many details, he reminds me to lighten-up, have some fun – don’t take life quite so seriously. With that, comes a certain level of irresponsibility and laissez-faire that can drive me crazy and when it does, I have to remind myself that the good always comes with the bad, without darkness there would be no light and without a certain level of irresponsibility, there would be no spontaneity. It’s funny how we all know of this balance when it comes to life in general but we forget that it exists within each and every one of us too no matter how angelic we may appear.
(If you are interested in finding out more about embracing the good and bad that exists in all of us, read “The Shadow Effect” by Debbie Ford, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson. Brilliant stuff.)
So how am I doing with following my own advice? Let’s just say that I am a work in progress! As we know, awareness is always the first step to change so now, when I catch myself being judgmental or frustrated, I have to take the old proverbial log out of my own eye before I point out the splinter in his. There is no need for us to have a meeting of the minds. We have a beautiful meeting of the body and soul and that to me, is pure love.
I send you love and strength,