True love is called unconditional love, and everything else is conditional love.
Conditional love is love with strings attached. I love you so long as you meet my expectations. I love you so long as you meet my conditions and requirements. I love you, but please don’t talk to that person. I love you, but please change your diet. And if you don’t do what I ask, I will get really angry with you and withhold my love until you fulfill my wishes.
Conditional love may seem like it is love, but it is really a disguised attempt at controlling someone and molding them into who you want them to be. To extend your love only when it suits you is conditional love.
If you want someone to eat healthier so that you can stop worrying about their health, then you are concerned with your own wellbeing and not the other person's freedom to make their own decisions. If they want to eat healthier, they will eat healthier independent of your wishes.
If you are trying to restrict another person's ability to talk to someone, then you are trying to prevent your own feelings of jealousy or insecurity rather than allowing the other person to act freely according to their own desire. If they want to talk to that person, then let them.
Unconditional love means I love you no matter what, not so long as. I love you no matter if you meet my expectations or not. In fact, I love you so much that there are no expectations. I love you so much that there are no conditions nor requirements in order for you to receive my love.
True love is accepting and freeing. You will feel free, uninhibited, and safe to be yourself around someone who truly loves you. If they love you unconditionally, they have no reason to judge, criticize, or condemn your behavior, your character, or your actions. They simply want you to be yourself because they do not live in fear of losing you or some idea of who you are or who they want you to be for them.
Those who truly love you will not feel threatened by you or your actions unless your actions are blatantly threatening or abusive. If you don’t feel free in your relationship, then your relationship is ruled by conditional love. Most people are conditional lovers.
It is not easy to practice unconditional love, but that’s exactly why we have to practice it. You may feel like you have no reason or ability to love someone who disagrees with you, doesn’t like you, or even makes you feel bad. You may feel like you could not love or accept your partner if they took an action that greatly upset you. That is because you are in the mind of showing conditional love.
When you’re in the heart of showing unconditional love, whether or not someone agrees with you, appreciates your character, or insults you has nothing to do with whether or not you choose to send them your love. Unconditional love is unbounded. There are no strings attached. You become love itself, and there is nothing that can stand in the way of it.
There are exceptions of course, like abusive people. If you are in an abusive relationship with a partner, friend, or family member, then you need to show yourself unconditional love by allowing yourself to quietly exit the relationship.
If you want to practice unconditional love, it doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone you meet or that you will appreciate everyone’s personality. It doesn’t mean that you have to accept everyone into your life or withhold your anger because you are trying to show them love. It doesn’t mean that you have to put on a fake smile and withhold your thoughts in fear of offending someone. Holding back your true feelings would be an unhealthy mistake.
You can love everyone without being in their presence or listening to their comments. You can still love someone unconditionally and have different values than them. It may make you angry that someone has a different value than you and is forceful about their expression of it, but you can still love them when you're in the heart of unconditional love.
If a friend, romantic partner, or family member makes you feel angry or unappreciated, they are misaligned with your values, and the best way to love them is to let them go their own way. To argue with them and try to change them so they see things your way and align with your values is an attempt to control them. That’s conditional love again. That’s trying to put them into a box of who you think they should be for you.
Does this sound like love? "I love you so much that I need you to change for me."
Developing unconditional love starts with loving yourself unconditionally. You cannot put yourself into a box by developing labels and standards for receiving your own good praises and love.
Your natural state is love and joy, and if you don’t feel that way, it’s because society has conditioned you to feel that you need to earn your own love.
Imagine the type of love you give to others if you don’t really, fully, truly love yourself unconditionally. At best, others only receive a fraction of your heart's love.
What are the conditions you have developed for yourself in order to show yourself love? Do you need that promotion at work? Do you need that six-figure salary? Do you need to lose thirty pounds?
What does unconditional love feel like?
Unconditional love doesn’t feel like anxiety, weak knees, or a racing heart. These are the same feelings we get when we’re at an amusement park about to ride a thrilling rollercoaster. Indeed, if you meet someone and feel this way, your relationship is likely to be a rollercoaster of emotions. It is a relationship based on lust and thrill.
This doesn’t mean that you will never feel upset, anxious, or excited with another person, but if the tone of your whole relationship is excitement, then it’s just a thrill.
Unconditional love feels different. You will feel a sense of calm, peace, and total freedom around people who genuinely love you. You will feel like you are free to be yourself without fear of judgement or criticism.
Unconditional lovers give advice to you straight, because it doesn’t matter to them what you do with it. They will love you either way. They are am not attached to you or some idea of you, yet still care about you, support you, and want to see you happy. They want you to grow into the best version of yourself even if that means they will longer see you.
They understand that only you can bring yourself happiness, only you can lead your life, and that you deserve to be free.
If your partner loves you so long as, then you have to ask yourself what all of their conditions are. When you're finished doing that, make sure you ask yourself what your conditions are for loving them.