Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. It’s unconditional love when other people care about our happiness unconditionally.
Unconditional love allows you to love yourself first, so that you have the strength of heart and mind to give the same to another person. We are quite specifically conditioned to only give love when we are reciprocated, and most often according to what we think is worthy of our love. Unconditional love is not a loan needing to be repaid, but a string-less gift of the heart - a gesture where only you benefit directly.
Loving unconditionally is more a behavior versus a feeling. Loving is the act of extending ourselves, vulnerabilities and all, into uncharted emotional territory with the belief that regardless of the outcome, we want to benefit another person. Imagine love as a behavior in and of itself, with the satisfaction being that feeling you get when you act a certain way for them, not when someone else acts a certain way to you. This becomes a pure act of generosity.
To love someone unconditionally does not mean that the act of that love is always going to be easy or feel comfortable. To be there for someone when they have challenges and need to foster growth, even those individuals in the fog of confusion know that there is going to be pain and some serious discomfort -- if you choose to protect them from these feelings and emotions you’re not loving them unconditionally. Unconditional love means you tell them the truth with gentle, kind communication and you are there, without judgement, to see them to the other side.
Unconditional love is aspired toward in the realm of personal and spiritual growth as the highest form of love.
We can love someone unconditionally from a distance while having conditions for how they treat us. We can pray for them, wish them well, and want the best for them while maintaining boundaries about how we are treated. Unconditional love in its purest sense doesn’t mean allowing someone to repeatedly abuse or harm us, no matter what.
Forgiveness is so important. It’s probably the most difficult and truly unconditional act we perform. Forgiving "is not something we do, but something we are." Granting forgiveness unconditionally isn’t communicating you’ll allow someone to be hurtful or discounting. The act of practicing unconditional love will be tainted and not at all healing if you choose to hold onto negative stuff.
“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
What does unconditional love mean to You?