We have heard the expression “unconditional love”. Of course it sounds good, sounds like a good idea, but how do you get it present and alive in your life?
Love without conditions imposed on it. Hmm. How do we remove the conditions?
We’re used to characterizations of love as something that arrives, shows up on the doorstep, alights on us as a butterfly would. I imagine us going to Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard of Love, looking in to see if love is present. We add up our observations, feelings, experiences to divine the presence of love.
It’s nice and even great when love shows up for us like this. What’s missing for me is the ability to cause love to be present. What if we could wave a magic wand and have love appear?
Bad news is we, at least I, don’t have a wand, magic or otherwise. Good news is there is another way to invoke love.
Become an agent of love! Use the power of your word, of your intention, to cause love. Stand for love.
We can love, put love out in the world without waiting for people to meet the criteria for lovability that we set. We can liberate ourselves from the need to allot love only when our opinions and judgments align. We can decide that people deserve love before we even know them.
We can make it our policy that people don’t have to earn our love.
Nowhere is this more important than in our relationships with our children. I advocate and request that parents bestow on their progeny unearned love. It is natural to express love and approval when they do something to make us proud, bringing home a stellar report card or achieving a big win in sports. Those are conditions that spark the loving utterances and there is nothing wrong about them.
But love can be regularly expressed in between those high points, apropos of nothing. Pride can be expressed in a general way, and not reserved for special occasions. Our messages carry tacit messages in addition to the words, what I call meta-communication. Detaching such expressions from deeds sends the covert message that they are loved regardless of performance. That makes it truly unconditional love.
I met a woman once who told me that she felt that her children needed to earn her love. One child excelled at this, but the other for whatever reasons struggled to hit the mark. It was only later on that this woman saw the folly of this practice, and abandoned it.
It takes something not to get caught up in the mundane detail of everyday life, and to send out unearned love. It is a habit that can be developed however, and can be directed at a vast array of people.
I call it love messages in a bottle. Notes can be left, texts, Facebook messages and voice messages can relay “just because” expressions, or words can be uttered in passing. Of course more elaborate expressions work too, but may be harder to shoehorn into the available time. Don’t let time constraints prevent the free expression of love.
People don’t present themselves to us with their needs stated on a sign on their chest, like “I need love” or “I feel bad about myself”, but these statements are true for many. If we send out our message in a bottle regularly, the messages will frequently be received graciously. Don’t be attached to hearing love back, just know that you are making love available to people who may feel like love is in short supply.
And it all comes back anyway, maybe in a different form from a different person, but love will abound.