Real Love: The Love Weâ€™ve All Been Looking For â€” Unconditional Love
We've heard songs about it, seen it in the movies, heard it talked about on Oprah by relationship experts, and read about it in thousands of self help books. But, what is unconditional love? We all want to feel loved. We think about it, hope for it, fantasize about it, go to great lengths to achieve it, and feel that our lives are incomplete without it. The lack of unconditional love is the cause of most of our anger and confusion. It is no exaggeration to say that our emotional need for unconditional love is just as great as our physical need for air and food.
It is especially unfortunate, then, that most of us have no idea what unconditional love really is, and we prove our ignorance with our horrifying divorce rate, the incidence of alcohol and drug addiction in our country, the violence in our schools, and our overflowing jails.
Our misconceptions of unconditional love began in early childhood, where we saw that when we did all the right thingsâ€”when we were clean, quiet, obedient and otherwise â€œgoodâ€â€”people â€œlovedâ€ us. They smiled at us and spoke in gentle tones. But we also saw that when we were â€œbad,â€ all those signs of â€œloveâ€ instantly vanished. In short, we were taught by consistent experience that love was conditional, that we had to buy â€œloveâ€ from the people around us with our words and behavior.
So whatâ€™s wrong with conditional love? We see it everywhere we look, so what could be wrong with it? Imagine that every time you pay me fifty dollars, I tell you I love you. We could do that all day, but at the end of the day would you feel loved? No, because youâ€™d know that I â€œlovedâ€ you only because you paid me. We simply canâ€™t feel fulfilled by love we pay for. We can feel loved only when it is freely, unconditionally given to us. The instant we do anything at all to win the approval or respect of other peopleâ€”with what we say, what we do, how we lookâ€”we are paying for the attention and affection we receive, and we canâ€™t feel genuinely loved.
A New Definition of Love: Real Love
Thereâ€™s only one kind of love that can fill us up, make us whole, and give us the happiness we all want: unconditional love or true love. It is unconditional love that we all seek, and somehow we intuitively realize that anything other than that kind of love isnâ€™t really love at allâ€”itâ€™s an imitation of the real thing.
Unconditional loveâ€”true loveâ€”is so different from the kind of love most of us have known all our lives that it deserves both a nameâ€”Real Loveâ€”and definition of its own: Real Love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. Itâ€™s also Real Love when other people care about our happiness unconditionally. It is not Real Love when other people like us for doing what they want. Under those conditions weâ€™re just paying for love again. We can be certain that weâ€™re receiving Real Love only when we make foolish mistakes, when we fail to do what other people want, and even when we get in their way, but they donâ€™t feel disappointed or irritated at us. That is Real Love (true unconditional love), and that love alone has the power to heal all wounds, bind people together, and create relationships quite beyond our present capacity to imagine.
What we Do Without Real Love: Imitation Love
If we donâ€™t have enough Real Love in our lives, the resulting emptiness is unbearable. We then compulsively try to fill our emptiness with whatever feels good in the momentâ€”money, anger, sex, alcohol, drugs, violence, power, and the conditional approval of others. Anything we use as a substitute for Real Love becomes a form of Imitation Love, and although Imitation Love feels good for a moment, it never lasts and never gives us the feeling of genuine happiness that Real Love provides.
Most people spend their entire lives trying to fill their emptiness with Imitation Love, but all they achieve is an ever-deepening frustration, punctuated by brief moments of superficial satisfaction. All the unhappiness in our lives is due to that lack of Real Love and to the frustration we experience as we desperately and hopelessly try to create happiness from a flawed foundation of Imitation Love. The beauty of Real Love is that it ALWAYS will eliminate our anger, confusion, and pain. So how do we find this universal cure? (googled)