Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love: Its Meaning, Obstacles, And Challenges

Giving love without constraints or conditions is unconditional love. It all sounds great, but how do you love someone unconditionally?

The notion of unconditional love sounds wonderful. We all want to be accepted with no requirements or reservations. But loving unconditionally is not easy. 

To be on the receiving end of unconditional love is certainly easier, but it’s not fair to expect to receive what you are unable or unwilling to give.

When it comes to unconditional love, there are no hard and fast rules. What this means for one person can vary greatly from another’s views. After-all we all give love in different ways.

You can create your own interpretation that we will get into later.


Here’s a beautiful song about unconditional love. You’ll love it.


By the time you’re finished with this post, you will have a much better understanding of: 

● The concept of unconditional love 

● How to love unconditionally 

● Obstacles to loving unconditionally 

● How to get a new relationship off on the right foot 

● Codependency 

● How to practice unconditional love in your daily life.


What is the difference between conditional love and unconditional love?


You don't love someone for their looks quote

Let’s consider conditional love in order to get a better sense of unconditional love. 

Many people have an unconditional love idea. But they never realized what conditional love is.

Fortunately, there are plenty of examples to make the conditional love principle crystal clear!

Suppose you bought your dream car. In all respects, this car is perfect. It’s brand new, the right color, it has a fantastic stereo system, and the leather interior is gorgeous.

Your friends are jealous that you have such an amazing car.

You’re head over heels in love with this car for the first 6 months.

Then you start hearing a rattle. It only rattles when you’re driving, but it’s starting to get on your nerves when you hear it. 

On occasion, one of the speakers starts cutting out. There’s a little static also creeping in once in a while.

The car is less reliable as well. It only starts  90% of the time. Twice even, you had to get it towed back to the dealership.

The fresh scent of the car is gone. It seems, in fact, that it always stinks like your dog when it’s fur is wet.

Do you still love the car? Perhaps not. You may even hate it, depending on the problems and your tolerance.

That love is conditional! You love that car only when it behaves the way you want it to.

Let’s use another example of a fictional partnership.

Let’s imagine that you’ve married a great man. He’s beautiful and in incredible shape.

He is a compassionate doctor who loves working in the pediatric ICU caring for babies that are very ill.

He’s got a great head of hair and enjoys spending time with your family, especially with your mom.

He’s kind and hospitable to your friends.

He’s also working hard to keep up the yard that is the envy of the whole neighborhood.

Five years down the road…

This remarkable specimen declares that he’s done being a doctor.

He’s always been interested in owning his own plumbing company, so he left the hospital and became an apprentice plumber. 

He now makes just 10 percent of his former income, but he’s enjoying himself.

He got heavy, really heavy.

He’s going bald, too. He’s always tired because of his new job and he’s no longer going to hang out with your family.

He no longer seems to want to spend time with your friends. He still loves taking care of the lawn, though.

Your friends used to think you’ve got the perfect guy, but they think you’ve got a dud now.

Are you still in love with him?

Now think about these things, would you still love your significant other if they:

  • Got fat?
  • No longer had a job?
  • Got into an accident and became disfigured or have brain damage?
  • Got fired from their high paying job?
  • Diagnosed with a fatal illness?
  • Is depressed all the time?
  • Stopped eating meat and became a vegetarian?
  • Stopped going to church?
  • Decided to try out another religion?
  • Got into a big amount of debt?
  • Stopped giving you attention?
  • Stopped wanting to be around your family and friends?

As you answer these questions, will you love unconditionally or conditionally? 

Clearly, it’s a real challenge to love unconditionally. And the sad fact is, most people love conditionally. They love someone only when they meet certain criteria.

Note that unconditional love doesn’t mean you’re willing to tolerate violence or give up your greatest hopes to be with someone. Remember that you need to love yourself and that your wellbeing is important too.

Create your own interpretation of what unconditional love means to you.

What would it take for you to stop “unconditionally” loving someone you’re with?


Unconditional love quote

The difference between codependency and unconditional love

Unconditional love and codependency are often misunderstood.

Codependent individuals are in a one-sided relationship where one person depends heavily on the other.

The codependent person may be loving unconditionally, but they are not getting unconditional love back.

Codependence is described in the dictionary as “excessive emotional or psychological dependency on a partner, usually one that requires support due to illness or addiction.” 

There are several indicators that you may be a codependent person: 

1. You are confusing love with sympathy. 

Love and sympathy or compassion aren’t the same.

Nevertheless, these feelings are often misunderstood by those who are codependent.

Sadly, those people who make us feel the most empathy are not often the best people to be in a relationship with.

They may be worthy of your care and support. But you must think twice before getting involved with them in a romantic way.

2. If you assert yourself, you feel guilty. 

Codependent individuals often feel that they aren’t worthy or are less important. They feel bad about expressing their own needs. If you let people know what you want or need, do you feel guilty?

3. You are looking for approval and appreciation. 

We all want to be heard and given appreciation but this is taken to a completely different level by the codependent individual.

Many of their decisions are based on other’s assumed opinions.

When you have a decision to make, how often do you consider other people’s opinions in the process?

4. Fear of being abandoned or alone.

No one likes to feel alone, but unless they support someone else, codependent people feel useless.

Do you feel that you are of value even when you’re taking time for yourself?

5. You struggle with honesty.

Codependent individuals often tell little white lies. This is mainly because what other people think about them is so important. This creates a desire to impress.

They also don’t want to disappoint others and so they end up telling lies.

6. In a marriage, you’re doing more than your share. 

Relationships on average should be 50-50. Do you always find yourself going above and beyond in your relationships?

This includes other relationships you’re in too.

7. Your relationship takes most of your focus and attention.

Are you living and dying for your relationship?

Is it much more important to you in your life than anything else?

Your relationship is very important, but it should never be your entire life.

8. Do you come from a family that is dysfunctional? 

If you have lived in a household with mental, physical, or sexual abuse, you may have a higher chance of being co-dependent.

Codependency is a serious issue needing professional assistance.

Make sure you understand the difference between codependency and unconditional love.

A healthy relationship needs emotionally healthy people for it to succeed. Most co-dependent people say they love unconditionally. Their actions can mimic unconditional love but have very different motivations.


Does unconditional love have boundaries?

The resounding answer to that question is, Yes! You must set healthy boundaries because loving unconditionally has its set of challenges and disadvantages.

There may be even more discomfort at times because, despite the challenges, you are committed to loving the other person, no matter what!

Unconditional love isn’t all smiles, fun, hugs, and kisses. It also includes tears, pain, and other forms of suffering. This is true in all kinds of intimate relationships.


Forgiveness quote by Yolanda Hadid

Consider these obstacles and disadvantages when you unconditionally love someone: 

1. Your partner may feel it’s okay to exhibit bad behavior. 

Let’s face it, you’re more likely to behave poorly if you think you won’t be held accountable or will be forgiven.

Loving them unconditionally could give them the idea that they can get away with anything.

Or, One may also be so appreciative of receiving unconditional love that they are constantly at their best behavior.

It really depends on the person you choose to love and their character.

2. You could be taken for granted. 

If the other person feels they don’t need to do anything to receive your love, they may not appreciate or respect you.

That’s why loving someone who loves you back is so necessary.

3. You are more likely to stay with someone you are supposed to leave. 

We’ve all seen one-sided relationships where one person is fully engaged, and the other person couldn’t care less.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean it’s worth your time to be fully vested in the relationship.

Unconditionally loving someone could lead you to accept more than you should. In life, everybody needs to set healthy boundaries.

4. Loving unconditionally is an opportunity for growth.

You probably have to be a bigger person than you are. You need to learn to be versatile, compassionate, forgiving and open-minded.

5. You will have to sacrifice. 

Sometimes you sacrifice your time, energy, concern, and effort.

You may also have to compromise your desires, some of your interests, and the way you see the world. You evolve.

6. Compromise becomes your middle name. 

Like sacrificing as mentioned above, it is important to learn to compromise with unconditional love. 

There are definitely some disadvantages and pitfalls of loving unconditionally. Everyone wants to receive unconditional love but are we willing to give it? 

In my opinion, there are some instances where unconditional love just happens especially for your child. That just comes naturally.

There are times though, even with that, we need to be careful that our unconditional love doesn’t harm the growth of those we give it to.

Keep on reading….


How do you love someone unconditionally?

Choosing to unconditionally love your romantic partner is an undertaking that will come with challenges and obstacles. It’s not easy to love unconditionally.

Fortunately, you have it within you to overcome the greatest obstacles. And if you are committed enough, anything within you is within your power to change.

The greatest obstacles within you to unconditional love are:

● Your personal rules

● Your ego

● Lack of communication

● Your desire to change the other person

● Lack of commitment 

Let’s take a closer look at these.

Personal Rules

Unconditional love is a major challenge. We all have guidelines on how others should behave.

We all have opinions on such issues as:

Reliability and promptness. Would it be okay with you if someone is 20 minutes late? Or would it make your blood boil?

Appreciation. Are you all right with someone who doesn’t thank you for holding the door open, or does it annoy you?

Materialism. Are you a minimalist and look down on those who buy every new gadget out there? Or perhaps you’re just the opposite.

Dating. What is your view on dating? Is it okay to date several people at a time?

What I’m trying to say here is everyone has rules as to what’s okay and what is not.

Here’s the kicker: if you have a lot of rules, unconditional love is going to be extremely difficult. 

The more rules you have for other people’s behavior, the more frequently they will break your rules.

Your Ego

Everyone has an ego and possessing one can both be a blessing and a challenge. 

Your ego can drive you to do amazing things, but in your relationships, an uncontrolled ego can create a lot of pain.

Your ego can be a huge obstacle when it comes to loving someone unconditionally.

Many of the negative feelings that we encounter are ego-based, including frustration, rage, and jealousy.

If you want to love unconditionally, it is necessary to conquer your ego. Here’s why: 

1. Your ego will often cloud your judgment.

Critical thinking and a strong ego don’t mix well.

Research has shown that the ability to think objectively and logically is adversely affected by strong emotions. 

The ego will make you unreasonable, leading to irrational phrases leaving your mouth.

Consider how likely it is that when your ego is wounded you can deliver a “low-blow.” These are the zingers that are nearly impossible to take back when heads have cooled.

People can eventually forgive and forget what you’ve said, but not how you made them feel.

2. Your personal development may be hindered by your ego.

The ego is not fond of changes. It causes you to be stuck in your way of thinking and new ideas are not welcomed.

It takes a lot of personal growth to learn to love unconditionally. It is a requirement, in fact.

3. Your ego will drive people away.

Not only does your ego make it more difficult to love unconditionally. It can also make loving YOU more difficult for anyone!

You can’t shower unconditional love on someone who doesn’t even want to be around you.

4. You can be self-absorbed by your ego.

Loving someone unconditionally allows you to give that person some of your time and attention.

The more obsessed you are with your own life, the less you have to offer to another human.

5. Your ego makes conflict resolution difficult.

You’re not going to consider the prospect that you might be wrong if you’re sure you’re right. To many of us, it is more important to be right than to be happy. At all costs, your ego wants to win. 

This can pose a major challenge for both parties to find an acceptable middle ground.

6. Competition is often created because of your ego.

It can be enjoyable and even helpful to have a little healthy competition. Daily romantic relationship rivalry, however, can be a real barrier to unconditional love.

7. Your ego can make you become overly sensitive. 

When your ego is wounded you can overthink the situation and as a result, you may feel slighted even when there’s no reason to be. 

You’re offended easily and this can give off negative feelings towards your partner.

Your ego can be one of the biggest obstacles in your relationship to feel unconditional love. 

Things to ask yourself:

How did your ego affect your past relationships? 

How does it affect your present relationship?

Lack Of Communication

Communication is required for all relationships. This includes your relationships with colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors.

One of the elements needed to learn to love unconditionally is to learn how to communicate more freely and effectively.

Here are some consequences to having a lack of communication in your relationships:

1. A lack of communication contributes to misunderstandings.

Conflict and anger stem from misunderstandings.

Something is much easier to solve while it is still small.

Simple interaction also prevents most problems before they ever become an issue.

2. Poor communication may result in a lack of trust. 

Trust fades when communication is poor.

If you want to trust and be trusted, then it is crucial to keep communication open and often.

3. Ultimately, unresolved conflict ruins any relationship. 

When there’s a lack of communication to an unresolved conflict then resentment grows and a partnership can be seriously damaged by ongoing feelings of anger and hurt.

4. Poor communication can destroy you and your partner’s connection and intimacy. 

Communication is needed to maintain an ever-growing, strong relationship.

A lack of communication can weaken the bond between you and your significant other.

Over time, a lack of communication can ultimately destroy your relationship.

5. Your needs can’t be met.

If you don’t communicate effectively, it’s impossible to meet your needs.

If you don’t communicate this information, how can the other person know what you want or need?

6. You don’t get what your partner wants. 

Likewise, your partner will not be satisfied either. Their desires and needs are not being met by you because of the lack of communication in your relationship.

How would you rate your ability to communicate?

Your relationship can’t be much better if you open up the channels of communicating.

The ability to communicate in a partnership is one of the most essential components of a successful relationship.

Establishing great communication right from the start will create trust and a deeper bond in your partner. 

Your Desire To Change The Other Person

No one is perfect, but there are a few people who come close enough that we can tweak them to make them perfect for ourselves. That’s a bad way of thinking!


Actual love quote

For you to love someone unconditionally does not mean they need to be perfect in your eyes. Trying to change them to conform to your expectations probably won’t work anyway. 

Loving someone unconditionally means ignoring, or even appreciating, certain aspects of their personality and behavior that are not what you would find to be ideal.

Understand that you can’t change another person for these reasons: 

1. Think about yourself, for instance. 

We all have flaws that we are aware of that need changing but changing ourselves and our habits, is hard! 

You wanted to lose weight, save more money, call your mother more often, or play the guitar for 60 minutes every day. How well has that worked for you?

Think about how hard it will be to change someone else if it’s hard to change yourself.

And you WANTED to change, but you couldn’t. So consider the person you’re trying to change probably doesn’t!

2. You’re being selfish.

There are many ways of approaching life.

To force your ways to someone else is selfish and arrogant.

Perhaps their ways are better than yours!

3. It is generating distrust. 

Others don’t like it when you’re trying to change them. It is a clear indication that in some way you believe they are inferior. Nobody likes feeling that way.

A big part of unconditional love is accepting your partner for who they are, annoying habits and all.

Don’t even consider trying to change someone, it’s far too challenging and degrades the basis of your relationship.

If someone wants to change for you, they will take the initiative to do it on their own. 

Lack Of Commitment

Loving unconditionally takes commitment as it is definitely a challenge. If you’re not committed, you’re probably going to fail.

How much do you want to love unconditionally?

Are you willing to give it a good go and persevere?

It is important to dedicate yourself to three things if you want to love someone unconditionally: 

1. Your Partner. 

This person will require a great deal of your time, energy, and concern.

Loving someone has costs, and your time and attention are those costs.

Other sacrifices are also going to have to be made that’s beyond your time and attention.

It takes sacrifice and compromise to have unconditional love in a relationship.

2. Your relationship with each other. 

The relationship itself is a constantly morphing living thing. At any moment, it gets stronger or weaker.

Are you committed to strengthening your relationship every day?

3. The idea of love without conditions.

Are you dedicated to the idea of unconditional love?

Are you willing to try hard to be the embodiment of unconditional love?

Anything that is worthwhile is challenging and requires serious commitment.

You are unlikely to experience a relationship with unconditional love as a foundation without commitment to your relationship, your partner, and the ideal of unconditional love.


How to create unconditional love in your life

You have to choose it every day if you want to experience unconditional love. It’s not a one-time decision you make.

Every day you have an unconditional or conditional choice to love.

Every day is a chance to build unconditional love.


Unconditional love quote by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

There are several things you have to do to build unconditional love on a regular basis: 

1. Accept that you don’t know the entire story. 

Do your best to find out the whole story before you jump to conclusions. Going with a few facts or preconceptions is will conclude with bad results. 

Love and trust enough to be patient until all the facts are available to you.

You may never have the whole truth, but you need to accept that. 

This is particularly true for past issues. You have experiences in your past that you can’t explain to your partner.

Your partner has similar experiences from the past that they can’t get you to understand.

2. Love yourself without reservation. 

When you can’t unconditionally love yourself, you can’t unconditionally love someone else either.

You can’t expect anyone to love you more than you love yourself. Many of us need to do a lot of work in this area as we can be pretty hard on ourselves.

3. Choose the option that is more loving.

Faced with two choices, lean toward the more loving option.

Ironically, the alternative is generally more ego-based and will definitely make you feel better in the short term, but will hurt your relationship.

4. Learn to forgive. 

Forgiveness and love go hand in hand. In all aspects of your life, practice being more forgiving.

Forgive the garbage man for accidentally letting some of your trash fall to the ground and not picking it up.

Forgive the mailman that he’s behind schedule.

Forgive the bad weather.

Forgive your boss that he’s grumpy.

Forgive your partner most of all, for their weaknesses and mistakes.

5. Exercise honesty. 

There are going to be times when being 100% honest will cause problems in your relationship.

However, you probably need to be more honest than you currently are.

The best way to exercise honesty is, to tell the truth, but in a more gentle way.  

6. Make your needs known. 

If your needs are not met on a regular basis, you won’t feel loved or content.

No one has the ability to read your mind, so you need to be open and honest about your needs.

7. Make an effort to know your partner’s needs. 

Just as you have needs, your partner does as well. Are you aware of what they are? Are you making a daily effort to satisfy and meet those needs?

8. Communicate with each other. 

Talking about each other’s needs is just one example of communication.

Another important component of unconditional love is to share everything from asking your partner how their day went to talking about each other’s hopes, dreams, and challenges. 

9. Always give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

Unconditional love means assuming the best of the other person.

Assume that the intentions of your partner are pure.

Assume that the purpose of an offhand comment was not negative.

Assume that any slights are simply oversights.

10. Be supportive. 

Be someone who your partner knows they can count on to be in their corner.

Whatever they’re going through be as encouraging and supportive as you can. Whether it’s a problem at work, a disease, or a hair-brained scheme!

11. Open yourself to change. 

Nothing ever stays the same. Both you and your partner will go through changes as time goes on.

Your taste, your finances, even the things you like to do for fun will change.

Be willing to accept those changes and still choose to love your partner unconditionally.

12. Focus on your shared goals and dreams for the future. 

It’s you and your partner against the world. It’s the struggle that you share. This will create a deep bond when you’re working toward the same thing.

By the choices you and your partner make, you create and practice unconditional love every day. 

Look for ways to show unconditional love, and it will become part of your life.


Unconditional love in a new relationship

Whether or not you have found the ONE, and it’s true love that you seek, then know that If you begin practicing unconditional love from the start, it’ll be the easiest. 


If you’re still searching be sure to read How To Find Your Soulmate And Attract Them.

Or, check out my posts on Dating.


It’s a real challenge to turn a relationship full of expectations into one of unconditional love. Getting off on the right foot from day one can make the journey far less challenging.


Loving unconditionally quote by Marina Abramovic

Here are some seeds of unconditional love you can start planting in yourself and your new relationship:

1. Before you get involved with someone else, understand and appreciate yourself first.

If you are unable to appreciate yourself, it is not fair to expect someone else to appreciate you.

Having a deep understanding of yourself, your wants, and your desires are important.

How can you find the right person in a relationship if you don’t know what you like, dislike, and need?

Without this knowledge, how can you develop a loving and nurturing relationship?

It’s important to don’t just jump the gun into a new relationship without understanding and knowing yourself fully.

2. Realize that it takes more than passion and love to have a successful relationship. 

Love is needed, but it’s hardly enough. You can really love each other, but the relationship can’t last if you have different values and desires for the future.

Love is just the launching pad and the road ahead is long.

3. Become aware that each of you has value to add to the other’s life.

What quality of life do you add to your partner’s?

What is does your partner add to yours? 

Beyond love, you should both be getting something out of the relationship. 

Here are some suggestions for sparking your thoughts:

Support. This can be monetary or emotional.

A different perspective on life

Personal growth opportunity

Fun

Knowledge

Cleanliness and order

Stability

Think about and then list, the value you add to each other’s lives.

4. Accept your differences.

You’re not going to find someone just like you, not even your identical twin.

Anyone you meet or communicate with is going to be different from you. It’s the differences that make life interesting between people.

Appreciate your partner’s characteristics that are different from your own. You can balance each other out.

You can learn from each other, for example, if you are super uptight and your partner is very relaxed. You can learn how to relax and your partner can learn to be more cautious. 

5. Avoid the belief that you will be happier if you are in a relationship.

A relationship should not be based on solving your life’s challenges. This belief is a recipe for disaster.

Learn how to enjoy being by yourself or learn how to make more friends if you’re lonely.

Find a way to earn more money if you are financially challenged.

There are benefits to being in a relationship but the benefits should not be the main motivation for being in one. 

A relationship doesn’t make you happier automatically.

Loving and making yourself happy will attract the right person to get into a relationship that is based on unconditional love. 

You’re inviting more problems into your life if you enter into a relationship just to meet a need. 

6. Revise your expectations. 

Unreasonably expectations do not go well together with unconditional love! 

This is true in all aspects of life that demands create stress and deception. 

You will be disappointed most of the time when your satisfaction is tied to circumstances or people fulfilling your specific expectations.

Moreover, most people do not appreciate the need to meet other people’s demands.

This can take several different forms:

You may expect to get a response immediately to every text you send.

Or you could ask your partner to put her dirty clothes in the hamper instead of just throwing them on the floor.

You might just want to be with someone who agrees to become a vegan.

Having preferences is fine.

In fact, it’s impossible not to! However, avoid turning your desires and expectations into demands is crucial.

A new relationship is a great time for setting the stage for a future of unconditional love. After all, starting with a clean slate is better than cleaning up a negative relationship. 


Conclusion

We know what unconditional love looks like, and we desire to have and feel that with our romantic partner.

However, we must be willing and able to give it in order to receive it. And that’s a huge challenge.

We all have a set of rules and preferences for ourselves.

We would like someone who fulfills our expectations 100% of the time, but everyone is different.  Accepting and embracing these differences is vital to unconditional love.

The ego, too, appears to mess with unconditional love. If you want unconditional love, keep in mind this question, “Would you like to be right or be happy?”

Your answer to this question may support your desire for unconditional love or undermine it. 

Communication is important as well. Good communication will help you avoid obstacles, make sure your needs and the needs of your partner are met, and reinforce your bond.

There is a considerable amount of personal growth needed to love unconditionally. Are you willing to make the sacrifices needed? 

Yes, it takes work to love unconditionally, but the results can bring so much joy to your life. It is pure, steadfast and accepting.

To have such love between two people is a beautiful thing.

This is true love. And who doesn’t want that?


Your turn:

I hope this has helped you and I would love to hear your thoughts:

Do you think it would be hard for you to love your partner unconditionally? Why or why not?

Please put your answers in the comment section below.


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