Many people speak of unconditional love and some search for it.
A woman might say, “I want someone to love me, just the way I am.” A man might say, “I want someone who won’t play games or try to change me.” It sounds good, but may not be very realistic. If either one of them was such a great catch, they would have so many opportunities and potential partners chasing them that they might have to hide. The point here is that all earthly relationships appear to be conditional.
“But I love my wife unconditionally,” a man may say. Perhaps some woman may say the same of her mate. It sounds good but let’s say a year later the man finds his wife sleeping with a co-worker, friend, or neighbor. Suddenly he isn’t saying such nice things about her.
I thought you loved her unconditionally,” A friend reminds him.
“But look what she did!” The man argues.
“So love is about what she does?”
“She betrayed me!”
“Oh so now it’s about you?”
Now the man is mad at his friend also, that is if he hasn’t already punched him.
I am sure you understand the point. Conditions apply in even the most romantic of loves.
Next someone argues, “My wife would never do a thing like that. She takes our wedding vows seriously.”
Inherent in that statement is a form of an agreement, or set of conditions, that are assumed with the vows. Therefore, conditions assumed with the vows make the relationship conditional.
On the subject of conditional love, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski tells a great story about love on Facebook. A young man is eating fish.
“Why do you eat so much fish?” He asked.
“Because I love fish,” the man answered.
“Let’s see. You love fish. So, you take it out of the water; you killed it, and you boiled it. You don’t love fish. You love yourself! And because the fish tastes good to you, you took it out of the water; you killed it, and you boiled it. ”
Dr. Abraham Twerski continues explaining that is what much of love in this world is like – fish love. Everyone wants something out of the relationship. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. This is not love, but rather a contract. The other person is there to make you feel better and to fill your needs. Gratification. Likewise, you are there to make them feel better and fill their needs. If they fail, out they go. If you fail on your end, out you go. Have you ever experienced that?
Even your parents had conditions. You had things to live up to and tasks to perform to gain their approval. Some say such training is necessary to prepare you for school and groom you for this world. Yet, Jiddu Krishnamurti asked this question. “If you know how bad this world is, why are you sending them to schools and preparing them for the world’s system? That does not sound like love.” (From the book “Think on These Things”)
So where is unconditional love? Has anyone experienced it? The closest thing you will find to unconditional love in this world is probably from an animal or pet. It is said that “a dog is man’s best friend.” Perhaps because it certainly is no woman. All kidding aside, the same is true for women. A dog is more of an unconditional friend than any man.
Don Miguel Ruiz covers this in his book The Mastery of Love. The dog won’t nag you telling you that you need to become a better owner. If you come home and ignore it, it won’t pout and accuse you of not loving it anymore or get angry. You don’t have to explain why you came home two hours late. You can even forget its birthday.
You also accept your pet for what it is. If you come home and the dog lifts its head and goes back to sleep, you aren’t upset because it didn’t greet you properly. You may demand it to be housebroken, but overall the demands people put on their pets are far less than they put on any human relationship.
Many pets would make horrible humans. I have a cat that has decided to make me her territory. She growls and bats at the other cats if they come near. Could you imagine having a friend or child like that? How about a mate or partner acting that way? It would be completely unacceptable behavior. Yet, as a cat, she has permission. Think about it. If your animal behaves like that you say, “Aww what a loving dog!” or “Ahh, what a good kitty!” You certainly would not be as upset or annoyed at a pet, as you would a spouse or date acting like that.
If you want unconditional love in this world you will probably never find it. Your parents can’t give it. Friends can’t give it. A mate or lover can’t give it either. The closest you will come to unconditional love in this world is your pet.
This is not to say that there should not be conditions in a relationship. Few people approve of their spouses or significant others sleeping around and rightfully so. Such behavior has the potential for many diseases and some of them are fatal. A family needs structure. Friendships need implied rules and boundaries. Everyone should demand respect.
The purpose here is only to point out that no one loves unconditionally. Chances are you don’t either. There is nothing wrong or right about it. It is simply life. We may also consider that love is not as external as many people think. As Ruiz pointed out, when it comes to love, you must start with yourself. Love is not external; it starts inside. You won’t find it outside if you don’t have it inside first. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others. The same is true for happiness, you can’t find it outside unless it is inside first.