Here are some thoughts on unconditional love that I had at dinner the other day while talking with a friend.
I think one miraculous gift that all humans have been given, allowing them to choose to love without condition, is forgiveness. To choose to take any and all past hurt and let it rest, is to choose a future free from anything that held you back before.
To me, forgiveness is a change in heart towards a person that starts with a change in perspective. It is impossible to forgive a painful situation if it is always in front of you. It is impossible to forgive a person if we are inclined to believe that they can never change. But the power of forgiveness hangs on the recognition that the person who has hurt you isn’t always going to be the same person they are today.
True forgiveness forgives a person because it sees the potential in what they could be, maybe not in that moment, maybe not the next day or month or year, but forgiveness believes that the person who has wronged us is also no different from us, and has the power to change who they are. Forgiveness sees the capacity for good in every individual. Forgiveness looks to the end of someone’s story and doesn’t get caught in the painful middle.
To quote from my most recent Blog post, Forever or not…an easy decision, “Have you ever been forgiven? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens up your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. It means that you have to admit you have been wrong all along. It means that you have to give up a piece of you that you have been holding onto. But, you never know, maybe what you have been holding onto is actually a terrible burden, and letting it go is just the thing you need to be light enough to love.”
It is in the perspective that true forgiveness needs, that I see as the foundation for unconditional Love.
When we choose to love someone, we choose to love the person, not just what they like, not just their dreams for their life, or their looks, but something draws us to who they are. We get drawn into their story. We find them more beautiful with each passing day. We find that we want them accomplish all their goals, live all their dreams and be satisfied and happy. We find that as we choose to love someone our focus turns from what we can get out of the love to what we can give to keep the love strong. We find the more we choose to love someone, the less we have the ability to choose not to love them.
But people are constantly changing. I know I have new desires and goals every few weeks or months or years. It is the way I am. Abandoned to adventure. Love however is constant. It exists and remains stable when feelings change, it remains, often, when people part ways for a long time, trying long distance relationships, it remains when it is unspoken, it remains when there are no actions to accompany it. It is the felt presence of knowing that at anytime, in no matter what circumstance, or what emotional state, you are willing to drop everything and play on the same team as a person at their moment of need. Even if you just had a fight, even if you are sick, or they’re sick, or whatever the case, love always gives.
Because people always change, unconditional Love demands the perspective of loving who a person can potentially be, not who they are at one single given moment. We love the whole person. That means loving the past, the present, and the future. If the past wasn’t what you expected, it doesn’t matter, love forgives and recognizes who they are now. If a person you love doesn’t become the person you thought they were going to be, we still love the person they have the capacity to be, the person they will be at the end of their story.
That is all that matters when we love, seeing beyond flaws or even what we consider our favorite things about a person. Everyone can and will change over the course of their life. Love always sees the potential for beauty and believes it perfect. Love is satisfied in seeing a bud because it knows a rose is unfolding on the inside. And love continues to love the bud, even if it never blooms, because it recognizes that the beauty is always there.