Isn’t unconditional love what we all dream of, what we all strive for, from others and for ourselves?
Why is it so difficult to achieve? What prevents us from the thing most cherished by everyone?
Fear, doubt, shame, lack of vulnerability, low self-esteem, anger, jealousy, and the list goes on…
But all of these things don’t have to be part of our life. We don’t have to accept them as if we didn’t have a choice.
We do have a choice; we have the power to change, to let go, and to move on to a much better way of life. It might not be an easy process, but what great things come without sacrifice?
Much of this process is about healing our wounds, our trauma, overcoming our inner barriers, expanding our awareness, believing in ourselves and the beauty of our dreams, and the willingness to not let go of our goals, of what is most important in our lives.
Unconditional love says it all; it is a love that is without any condition whatsoever, with no judgments, no fears, no blame, no attachments, nothing—it just is. It asks nothing more than to flow from one being to another, unrestricted, unrestrained. It belongs to no one and cannot be contained. You can only experience it in the present moment, while it is flowing through you. Don’t try to grab onto it, don’t try to rationalize it, or exploit it—any of those things will only stop the flow.
“There is no passion to be found playing small, settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Unfortunately, most people only understand and experience the much lesser version of this great force, which is conditional love, the kind of love most people share in relationships and family settings. The kind of love that is based on obligations and give and take; I will do this for you, if you do that, I will be there for you, as long as you are there for me, and it must be exactly like this and like that. Then people proceed to enumerate the ways they need to be “loved.”
This kind of love is selfish and breaks down quickly as soon as the conditions that hold it up are not met, as most of us have experienced far too many times.
Unconditional love does not come with conditions; it can never vanish or be turned around at the slightest hint of possible problems or challenges. It simply is there for anyone willing to become vulnerable enough to feel it flow through them and direct it toward others in an open and compassionate way.
This is the part that does not come easily. To open yourself up to unconditional love, you must first free yourself of those things within you that prevent it from flowing through you—the pain, the hurts, the blame, the anger, the emotional trauma. You must summon up the courage to peer deep within yourself and face all of those things that go bump in your dark corners. Not an easy task, I know.
I have spent much of my life trying to do this and, more specifically, the last few years. I did the “quit my job and go find myself thing,” and for two and a half years I traveled the world by myself, looked as deeply inside as possible, forgave all and everyone that I could, including myself, for all my mistakes, for all the paths that I chose, and those that I didn’t, to let go, to learn how to live again, and, above all, to find what I was truly passionate about.
Unconditional love starts with self-love, and one can only do that when they have faced all that is within them, and find a way to be okay with it all. Emotional and psychological trauma is possibly the biggest barrier to unconditional love there is and prevents greater relationships with others. It keeps us in unhealthy patterns, isolated and alone.
And understand that you do not need to be perfect. Trying to overcome your inner suffering doesn’t mean going into battle with it, to judge it and yourself. It is about overcoming and letting go, and lots of accepting and love, and we need to be willing to extend the same courtesy to others.
“The only journey is the one within.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
There is a reason why all the great teachers in our history tell us that true change can only happen from within and that our only real obstacle is ourselves. The world opens up to the same extent alongside the barriers you overcome in yourself, and it becomes just as beautiful as you believe yourself to be.
Take the time to heal anything that is out of balance in your own being. That is the best measure of self-love, and by doing that, the love you develop for yourself will automatically radiate out into the world, and that is how we can make the world a better place for everyone, as everything you do will include that love, will be built on that foundation. And you can only love others to the same extent that you love yourself, so why wait any longer?
We are on the edge of great change, we are all in this together, and only together will we shift humanity toward a better tomorrow. It is up to you to decide your role in all of it.
Are you willing to work toward a front-row seat, or let your hurts drag you all the way back into the cramped, limited-view seating area?