There’s a saying I’ve heard, and possibly even said myself, which suggests that the only love that is unconditional is the love of a mother for her newborn baby. The adage goes on to say that maybe this only lasts twenty-four hours or until your first sleepless night.
To answer this question let’s firstly look at what is ‘unconditional love’. Put simply, and as the words would imply, unconditional love is love that is given without the expectation of anything in return.
Conditional love, on the other hand, is the love that is given in response to love received and generally has attached to it something like… “I will love you as long as ….” The conclusion to this phrase might be about something I get from you or something you do for me so might end with “… you take care of me” or “… you give me what I want.”
It would be someone exceptional to truly love when nothing comes back.
Using this definition then it would be someone exceptional to truly love when nothing comes back.
Have you ever seen unconditional love? For most of you, unconditional love is probably just a fairy tale myth which doesn’t exist. For many, love alone has become like a ghost – “everybody talks of it and only a few have seen it”. When you tell someone you love them, most of the time they will be waiting for the “what’s next”, saying there is no such thing as love so there has to be an ulterior motive for someone saying it.
However in this mean and self-centered world, you can still find those people who love, and there are many I’ve seen who truly do love unconditionally. I believe I see it everyday in parents and their children, community carers and their charges, those who offer a variety of professional help and their clients/patients and between family members of each other.
I think the ultimate qualifier here is in the willingness of one person to put themselves at risk of discomfort for the wellbeing of another.
So to answer the question in debate, I believe that love can be divided into two groups depending on its foundation. Love, that has gratitude at its roots, and love that does not spring from gratitude.
First, I will explain love that has gratitude at its roots. We might develop love towards someone because they are kind to us, may be they did us a favor, or they provided us with something, when we were in need. There can be a million reasons for loving people. Such is the love that comes from gratitude; maybe this really cannot be called love at all. Maybe it is just a deep sense of appreciation of one for another. And because there’s often a power difference here, that is someone has something, an object or a skill that the other doesn’t, such feelings and the sense of love can never really be unconditional. This is love, which has a reason.
Now, how does love spring without gratitude? Sometimes we like someone’s innocence so much that we begin to love their innocence, sometimes we fall in love with someone because of their simplicity or as I have already alluded to it is simply that of one person for another without any expectation of reciprocation.
Therefore, yes unconditional love does exist, but maybe is far too rare. The most notable thing about unconditional love is that it has no explanations, no reasons, no apologies and no gratitude. You just love, love and love, because you love. There is no reason for your love. Hence it is called unconditional love.
In another article I’ll speak about how you can find unconditional love in your relationships.
So until next time – Relate with Love