Unconditional Love

Being unconditional is about being free of a desire to impose conditions upon another person which may potentially limit, influence or restrict them from their own way of being.

It is letting go of the expectation that if we do something or give something to someone (materially, emotionally or spiritually) we are not assuming we will get something back. It is also about whether we can accept someone or not if they behave in a certain way. Can we be warm and remain open towards another if things are proceeding as we would like, or do we feel cold if they are not proceeding as we would like?

Being unconditional can be about letting go of expectations, and thus control, that we may consciously or subconsciously impose upon another and being mindful of our attachments (in material terms, but also to outcomes). It is about noticing our wants, our motivations, our drives and our needs with regards to doing things for others. It can help us to be conscious and aware of what we personally might be expecting to gain from another in any given interaction. When we are conscious of these possibilities we can then endeavour to put them to one side, or at least be mindful of them and where they might impose upon another and place conditions upon them. When we are not aware, we may, albeit unintentionally, place conditions and restrictions upon another.

Being unconditional demands in itself a degree of openness with others and acceptance of others which is not easy to do. As we strive to practise unconditional love through spiritual practise this concept may bring up inner conflicts to be resolved. One of the most profound examples of this unconditional approach was illustrated to me when I name-dropped during a communication with someone. During meditation, my Guide conveyed to me ‘that wasn’t the wisest thing to do, because within that action there was a desire to impress’, which was about me wanting something from the other person, for example acceptance. It was an unconscious attempt to influence them. The way that this explanation came to me was like being told off but with a stable presence of love and compassion plus the notion that it was entirely my decision whether I paid attention to the advice I was intuiting. How I responded made absolutely no difference to the love present and being shown to me — there was no shame involved and complete freedom to pay attention or not, to the advice given. In that moment I was unconditionally accepted, the love was still obviously present, it was said with love and I knew that it would still be there, no matter what choice I made.

This is the basis of all healing; it comes down to our ability to consistently accept another, with the warmth of love, without condition. This is difficult to do, sometimes impossible, which is why we are human and why anyone involved in healing work can benefit from certain boundaries being in place in order that we are more able to remain consistent in our approach to another. A boundary can take the place of unconditional love when this may be difficult to do in close proximity to another. To also endeavour to consistently accept ourselves with love also, the unconditional acceptance of self, without being hard on ourselves is another thing to strive towards. Not easy to do in both respects, it’s a process, and something which we may want to achieve but not always manage to do (and when we don’t, how do we respond to ourselves, do we berate or soothe ourselves with unconditional love?).

We may feel ourselves opening and closing in response to others according to where we are within ourselves. Within that process it can help us to pay attention to our physical body and intuition as to the degree of involvement to which we can engage safely with another whilst still being able to remain open to them. We may feel a block or wall within us when we feel closed; whereas when open we may feel a freedom and ease of energetic communication between ourselves and the other, one where we feel able to stay centred in the heart. Issues which test us and push our buttons can close us off quite quickly. When we feel judgement and condemnation of another, this be difficult issues to deal with within ourselves as we strive towards attaining a more accepting and unconditional approach. Understanding the concept of respect further may help with this.

This is written from a therapeutic point of view, with the role of the holistic therapist in mind. Within daily relationships being unconditional does not mean that we repeatedly tolerate abuse from another or make excuses for their behaviour when they demonstrate a lack of regard and respect for us. If we are unable to say no to another person, it is unlikely that we are able to be unconditional with them either because an inability to say no can reflect a need to be accepted, at a cost to ourselves (literally putting ourselves aside so that we become lost, whereas when we are unconditional we are able to remain fully present). This is where unconditionally respecting and loving ourselves comes in and is useful to address first. Within relationships it is not our responsibility to heal a partner, parent or a friend, that’s the role of a therapist or counsellor if that is what is required. Understanding boundaries may help.