As kids, we remember basking in the warm embrace of our mother's love. Our dads would bring many sweets and toys after a long day at the office. Reminiscing about such beautiful memories brings joy to our hearts and minds. Our parents, siblings, and loved ones would do things for us without expecting anything in return. Such love was pure and unconditional. As we grew up, we experienced this with our friends. We rarely find such love other than from our family and friends.
What is unconditional love?
Love that does not expect anything in return when given is unconditional. To love someone without conditions is a pure thing to do because humans are selfish. Everybody expects something when they do a favor for anyone. Examples of unconditional love are when our friends buy us gifts or siblings get us extra clothes when they go shopping for themselves. Children taking care of their parents in their old age and vice versa is a universal kind of such love!
15 ways to love unconditionally
1. Forgive loved ones:
It's not easy to forgive a person who has wronged us. So, when we forgive someone, we show a part of our unconditional love for them.
● Take Piero Ferrucci's advice, for example, "forgiving is something we are, not something we do."
● Keep a balance between forgiving people and letting someone walk all over you. Forgive but remember that it doesn't happen next time.
2. Make loving choices:
Always place your loved ones before yourself and ask, what do I do to make their day better? What actions or choices can I take to make them feel more loved? It could be a nice dinner to relax them or something as simple as talking to them about their day.
3. Love beyond anger:
When we are angry with our loved ones, our first reaction is to resist or shut down. We pull back to protect ourselves. So how do we react to show our love despite being angry? How do we work through our anger?
● Relax your heart and feel your tension ease over a few minutes. View the anger as energy and let it pass through your heart.
● This energy is temporary. Observe yourself playing out the angry scenarios in your mind. Let your thoughts flow. You will return to your normal self.
4. Being respectful:
Respect is one of the building blocks of all kinds of relationships. It begins with respect for the self and then for others. It is important to respect your loved ones for their choices and how they are as people.
5. Love yourself first:
As the famous psychologist, Jung said, "It's hard to draw water from a dry well." It becomes difficult to love others unconditionally when we do not love ourselves first.
● Spend time doing activities you like and taking care of yourself. This way, you will feel fulfilled when doing loving things for others.
● Loving ourselves makes it easier to do and give to others without expecting anything in return.
6. Love even the undeserving:
Some difficult people can be hard to love. Loving unconditionally includes showing them love as well. When we love people who don't like/love us, we can say we have arrived. We can love anyone unconditionally.
7. Giving the benefit of the doubt:
Everyone makes mistakes at some point. When we love someone wholeheartedly, we must be ready to overlook their mistakes. Our loved ones deserve our kindness and giving them the benefit of the doubt only strengthens that love.
● It's important to note, though, never to let them take advantage of our kindness.
● Letting them slide once or twice is fine. After that, it might be manipulation!
8. Support throughout:
Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes, our loved ones may hit a rough patch. They may have lost their job or the death of a loved one. These events can distress people and make them moody. They may not behave properly towards you.
● It is important to show your support during this time. We must be patient until it passes and work towards improving things.
● You can even help your loved ones by talking them through their grief or accompanying them to a counselor, or helping with their resume.
9. Show your true self:
A very important act of loving a person without conditions is being your 100% true self in front of them. Since you know they will accept you as you are, you can be yourself with all your flaws before them. This is very freeing for a person.
10. Accept people for who they are:
We must not expect others to make us happy with their choices for their life. That would be pretty selfish.
● Accepting a person's flaws as well as strengths is what makes love unconditional.
● Understand that everyone has their dreams and ambitions of living life as they please. If you love them unconditionally, you will love and support them even if you do not agree with those choices.
11. Being understanding:
In today's world, most people want understanding more than love. Everyone wants to be understood and accepted as they are, with no strings attached. It takes time and patience to get to know and understand a person. That kind of effort reflects unconditional love.
12. Support their hobbies:
Loving someone with no conditions also means that you are secure enough to let them have their hobbies. It's not necessary to do everything together.
● Encourage them to pursue their interests by joining hobby clubs and meetings.
● Listen to them and support them during competitions related to their hobbies and meet their hobby club members.
13. Emotional labor of love:
When you love someone wholeheartedly, you become ready to go that extra mile to make them happy. You can make their favorite meals or take them to their favorite hangout spots.
● You take care of their emotional needs as much as your own.
● They feel safe expressing themselves in front of you.
14. Never letting go:
You have lived together long enough that letting them go does not seem like an option anymore. They are a part of your soul, and you will work through anything to keep them in your lives. Like a child's bond with their mother is unbreakable, bonds of unconditional love can never sever, no matter what.
15. Pay attention to their feelings:
Listening to your loved ones when they pour their hearts out is something money can't buy. It's one of those gifts that shows the amount of sincerity with which you invest in them. They will, in turn, reciprocate in kind.
● Do not interrupt them when they share good or bad news about their lives, and show your understanding.
● Look them in the eyes while listening to them. This shows that you have their full attention, and they will appreciate it and know that you care.
Conditional v/s unconditional love:
In the start, in any relationship, since we don't know a person very well, our love will be conditional. But, as we get to know the person better, our love may remain restricted or may flourish unconditionally. This also depends on how the other person treats us.
When we love someone unconditionally, we know that come what may, we will stick to that person. But, when the love is conditional, the love may fail due to a variety of reasons or circumstances.
2. Sense of security:
In conditional love, the partners may be under constant duress to prove their love to the other person. They may worry that they might find someone else better. But, in secure relationships, the partners relax and find peace in each other's company.
3. Arguments and disagreements:
In unconditional relationships also, the partners argue with each other. But they do so to work towards resolving a problem. They want to find a solution and will get through it under any circumstances. In the opposite case, the couple fights to prove that they are right, and it does not matter if the relationship breaks in the process.
Benefits of unconditional love:
1. Stronger immunity:
Children and adults in happy, unconditional relationships fall ill less than those who are not. Being happy means, they take better care of themselves and their health.
2. Healthier brain development:
Studies found that kids getting a good dose of unconditional love had many healthy development cycles. They also had good self-esteem. Due to the release of endorphins, their anxiety levels also went down.
3. Higher stress resistance:
In happy environments, people tend to generate more happy hormones. This, in turn, reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Thus stress levels reduce a lot. Panic attacks and anxiety levels also reduce with time. Being in a secure relationship increases our confidence and makes us feel safe and loved.
Unconditional love is rare in today's world, and those who have it must preserve it with all they have. Most cases of such love are parents' love for their kids and vice-versa. The fast-paced world we are in right now makes it hard for people to be in committed relationships, much less unconditional ones.
So, it becomes even more important to read the above points and apply them to your relationships to show your loved ones you care.
Like a gardener tending to his flowers, these relationships take time and patience to cultivate. In the long run, they are very beneficial and let us lead a long, satisfying life. This secure, peaceful, and happy relationship also has physical as well as emotional benefits.