It’s often this time of the year when I listen as friends sigh exasperatingly and lament that if they could only find someone to love them completely, everything else would fall into place.
Unconditional love would solve all of their problems.
They just know that once they finally find “The One,” everything will magically work out. Somebody to fully accept them, quirks and all. Someone that will defend and stand by them without second thoughts or reservations.
That is a nice fantasy and all, but the majority of us can at times be rather difficult to love, Especially fully and completely—every second of the day. Why do so many of us equate true love with unconditional acceptance and continue to cling to it so desperately?
It’s a bit unrealistic.
I’m a decent person the majority of the time but when I’m at my worst, well, it isn’t pretty. Anyone who professes to love me in those moments is a liar.
Don’t blindly forgive me in my intentional times of irrationality because you love me so much. It causes me to doubt your judgment. It also makes me think you just might lack self-confidence, which makes me wonder if you will in fact be able to handle me in the long run or yourself in situations outside of our relationship.
Call me on that sh*t.
Let me know that I’m acting childish and ridiculous, and that even though you love me, you certainly are not going to continue to enable me to act like a douche bag. When I am at my worst, for whatever reason, it can be pretty ugly. I’m talking the Jennifer Beals from Flashdance throwing rocks at Nick’s window and screaming obscenities kind of ugly. The more it is encouraged, the uglier it becomes.
I want a challenge. Or in the very least I want someone who can call me on my behaviors in a way that encourages me to become better instead of blindly accepting my spastic meltdown moments in the name of unconditional love.
Instead of searching for some elusive soulmate who will love us no matter what we say or do, maybe we should instead focus on looking for someone who will tell us, “Look. I care about you enough to tell you I’m not going to encourage this asinine behavior. Take some sort of responsibility for your crap. I do not love the psychotic way you are currently acting.”
I can be ridiculously unreasonable and I know it. The more the people in my life accept it, the worse it can become. I’m practically begging someone to tell me to chill the f*ck out. There are ways to love somebody with conditions. One that comes to mind immediately is not being afraid to call people out in their moments of ego crazed, selfish, over the top episodes of utter madness.
If you keep looking for story book all-encompassing, no strings attached, I love you no matter what kind of love you might need to think about maybe looking at love and what it really means differently.
It means supporting someone to be their best when they are at their worst. Challenging them to figure out why they are acting the way they are and learning from it, not loving them through it and ignoring it. It also means you might have to challenge yourself a bit to figure out why you allow this person to act like they do during these moments in the first place.
Love is not and should never be unconditional.
Author: Shana Shippee
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Nu Scot/Flickr