I have this lover. I know that we were destined to meet because our palms bear identical lines and he is my mirror in every sense. At times he is a perfect image of me, and the rest of the time he is my perfect opposite.
However, this does not mean that our relationship is charmed, quite the contrary. You see, Hollywood taught me how to behave when a boyfriend cheated on me or didn’t get along with my best friend, but the challenges we two star-crossed lovers face are of another kind all together. For instance, today we found ourselves in the middle of a lively discussion about the nature of un/conditional love.
Struggling to express a concept I vaguely grasped, it was only a few moments before the effort brought it sharply into focus. I was left speechless at the realization that I understand more about the nature of love than I had been willing to admit. Meditating on my heart chakra, the nature of “unconditional” love always eluded me until today and now, here I am, trying to tease out the fine hairs.
I thought I didn’t know what unconditional love was. I thought that I was utterly selfish, untrained by narcissistic and inept parents and that without an image of what that kind of love looked like, I was never going to find it showing up in my life. Well it turns out to have been there all along, I just wasn’t appreciative. It goes something like this: I am a giver. I am the friend that gets sucked dry by an insatiable desire to help others and a keen healer’s eye. My friendships have all but dissolved in the last year as I came to realize that the only thing I was receiving from them was the feeling of being needed and I sought a healthier start.
I never thought of myself as the doormat, the forgotten giving tree, or the tired old sweater – soft and comfy to the touch but the last thing you look at when a fancy prince comes to town. I knew there was nothing sustainable about this pattern of giving and never replenishing, it is inherently unbalanced. What drove this unsustainable behavior was not insanity (or maybe it was?) but unconditional love.
Sure, the extreme opposite of the sad old sweater love is giving love only when energetic compensation can be expected and that is equally shameful. No one would argue that love out of obligation is inherently less valuable, that’s for sure. But if a person finds himself making promises only to give as much love as he “is able,” does that not speak to an equally dubious condition? It says, “If I have enough energy for myself then I will give you some love in whatever form you require.” Well that is the very definition of conditional now, isn’t it?
So what’s our position on conditional love? Is it just a stepping stone to the unconditional variety? Should conditional love be looked down upon? What purpose does it serve? How can we take Mother Nature’s examples of unconditional love and feel their energy in our own lives? I am reminded of the effortless gift of sunlight which will someday drain our great star of all his life force. Does he ever ask, “What if I don’t have enough?”
I can’t tell you how interested I’d be to hear your thoughts. Don’t hesitate to chime in below!