I am taking this class called Psychology of Personal Experience and it's a rather strange course which has copious amounts of articles, textbooks and novels to read. Every week we do all of this reading then on Monday afternoons we all come together, create a giant circle of chairs in the classroom and talk about what we read. It's basically a book club which we pay to join. Most of my classmates think that this class is a major pain in the butt because there is SO MUCH reading, but every so often we bring up a subject which sparks my interest. Today there were two subjects actually which got me speaking feverishly in class, but I will only talk about one in my blog because the other is so big (religion) that I can't even begin to imagine talking about it in this blog because it would take years to explain everything I wanted to say. But the other is the lovely topic of unconditional love.
Unconditional Love has many dimensions to it such as:
- those who love without expectation of anything in return
- you learn to accept others as they are without setting conditions for their behaviour
- you allow others to be themselves without judgement, criticism or condemning them
- still love someone even when they do something you do not approve
- you can allow that person to leave you for someone else and hold no bitterness, jealousy or resentment
So today in class, one of the questions which our group was asked is if we have felt that we have received unconditional love and how we give it to others. Looking at the definition of unconditional love made me really stop and think about this question. Is there someone out there who looks at me and accepts me without setting conditions for my behaviours? Does another person/people feel no judgement or criticism in terms of their love for me? And yes, I do feel as though I am lucky enough to have this in my life. My parents definitely give me unconditional love. Even when they know that I am making a stupid decision in my life, they allow me to make that mistake and love me when I come to them admitting that I did in fact make a terrible decision. They love me what I dye my hair purple or move across the country or become obsessed with some new fitness craze that the whole world is involved with. Thanks mom and dad. You're the bestest.
One point which our group brought up is that having unconditional love for a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/partner can be tricky. Can a person truly (and I mean truly) love another person completely and unconditionally no matter what? We were thinking that every person must have a line that their partner can cross which can break that ideal love. It can be something like an affair with another person. For most people that would be the event which can make or break the entire thing. Realistically, for this topic, I don't think it's healthy or possible to love someone unconditionally. Wouldn't it be hard to give all of your love to another person and not expect a single thing in return? I believe it would be. There must be a balance somewhere in terms of a loving relationship between adults.
Tip of the Day: The Beatles may have had it wrong...is love really all you need?
Then there's the topic of children. It's famously known that people who have children say that having that child is their first experience of the feeling of unconditional love and that there is nothing that that child could do which would doubt that love. Now I am not a parent and neither were anyone in my group today, but our professor agreed to this point. Now my thought is, what if your adult child bad-mouthed the entire family for 30 years then burned down the house, stole the car and the dog, emptied the bank account and convinced your boss to fire you...would you still love the kid then?
This next point may sound silly, but I thought I would bring it up anyway. Many people may not think of this initially but it was one of the first things that came to my mind when I thought of unconditional love; my dog(s). One of my favourite sayings in life is "be as great as your dog thinks you are", because our dogs think so highly of us and most of us will never actually be able to live up to that greatness, which is unfortunate. Our dogs love us when we gain weight, lose our jobs, date terrible people, get in fights with friends, eat a tub of ice cream in the middle of the night (because they may get a bite) or forget to fill their water dish. Unconditional love doesn't have to be complicated and dogs prove this to us.