If we are blessed we have experienced unconditional love and also know how to stand in it in order to share it with others. Unfortunately in my own life, and as I have seen with countless clients, many have been involved in relationships at some point in their life where there was conditional love.
A conditional love relationship can have you questioning your self-worth and cause a lack of self-love, self-confidence as well as heaps of guilt which is a painful and backward moving emotion.
It is important to see the signs and know if the relationships around you are ones of conditional or unconditional love and how to ensure you are in fact standing in and emitting unconditional love.
I will begin with how I define the two and some signs to tell the difference.
An unconditional love relationship feels really good. Whether it’s between a parent/child, spousal/significant other, a work relationship, siblings or other family, friends – any relationship out there. It feels healthy and you know deep down that even if there is a disagreement or you are doing something not in alignment with the other person – they will bring it to your attention in a kind way or silently let you know you always have their love. Now this does not in any way give permission to do something cruel to the person or someone/something they care about. There is an honor around the love you share.
Unconditional love means that the person has enough faith and love for you that they see the best in you and love you in every moment. It can mean taking a step away for a moment with secure knowing they will truly always be there if you truly need them.
You know you are one with everyone and feel when you are with that person there is no judgment, just a deep caring for you. After spending time with this person you feel good, happy and grateful to have been in their company. I am lucky enough to have this with my mom and many friends and I know there is nothing I would do that would shake that love. My mother gave me that example that I strive to share with my kids, my sweetheart and my friends. I love them – no matter what.
A conditional love relationship feels great sometimes and honestly icky in others. It has you questioning yourself and sometimes feeling heaps of guilt.
This can look like a parent, spouse, friend or co-worker that rewards you with compliments or even with gifts when you are “going along with their program”, but if they feel you walking your own path or not doing what they want… you feel guilt and shame.
I have had many clients that unfortunately have had this kind of relationship with a parent. I’ve seen it contribute to severe depression and in some cases, as I have seen first-hand, sadly it lead to taking one’s life. As long as they were doing what that parent wanted, they were showered with love and sometimes even gifts. However, if that child dared to go on another path, refuse to go along with a program, or God forbid do the opposite of what that parent wanted them to do – they were made to feel guilty and unloved.
Using words like “disappointed” are an attempt to make the person feel guilty and can cause the person to truly question their own worthiness of self-love. The beautiful news is you can heal from conditional love and make sure not to bring that pattern into your own life, once you are aware of the difference.
Here are a few tools to use to help you stand in unconditional love. When we stand in it, we attract it to us and feel self-love and the love of the world around us.
1) Firstly, know that we are all doing the best we can. You are doing the best you can. Your family, friends, work colleagues, significant other is doing the best they can from where they are in this moment.
Everyone has their “stuff” and there is no way of knowing 100% what anyone else has been through. Wounded people hurt other people. Healthy well adjusted people stand in love. Affirm to yourself you are doing the best you can and the people around you are also doing the best they can. Stand in front of the mirror and affirm to yourself that you are worthy of love and you are standing in unconditional love.
2) Say the Ho’oponopono prayer for yourself and others who you feel have hurt you or need some help to stand in their love. I mention Ho’oponopono a lot because it is indeed the most powerful prayer I have ever come across.
Four short sentences make up this prayer with a seemingly complicated name. I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you. I have seen it transform relationships within the self and with others. There is more to learn to take this prayer even deeper. I recommend Dr. Joe Vitale for learning more about Ho’oponopono.
3) Think about a time when you have experienced conditional love. Take a few minutes and place your hand on your heart. Think about a time when you felt guilt or perhaps not good enough, or felt like if you didn’t do something love might be withheld and replaced by disappointment. Now take a breath and ask that that moment be surrounded by love and ask that you come to some kind of peace with it. Know that if that person has given you love conditionally that is probably how it was given to them. Feel compassion for that person for having experienced the limitation of conditional love in their own life.
Now, take a moment and bask in when you have felt unconditional love. A look, a hug, a gesture, an “I love you or thank you” that you felt in your heart and could even have brought about tears of joy. Really stay in that moment. Bring in every emotion and how you felt receiving that love. Tell yourself this is what you want to bring to others.
4) Lastly, think of someone in your life that you do feel this unconditional love for and reach out to them today – in a note, a call, or even an email just letting them know how much you care. If it is someone that has passed – write a letter. Acknowledging you felt the beauty and depth of unconditional love will leave you with a higher vibration and feeling wonderful.
It is important to do a little “check in” and see how you are giving/receiving love. Giving and receiving unconditional love feels so wonderful and conditional love – not so much. It is up to you to be the example you want to see in the world. By putting it out there you will receive it ten fold. Know that you are showing your kids, your significant other, your neighbors, your friends and family and your co-workers in each moment how you give your love. We are all connected energetically and these days more and more people are truly feeling that energy stronger. Love yourself enough to know you are worthy of unconditional love and it begins with you.