We all need unconditional love to thrive. We may not know what each day has in store for us. We could be gone tomorrow. Any minute could truly be our goodbye. But we do have this moment. This time. Today. Right now. The magic we all need to experience is unconditional love. But we all probably are aware this sometimes isn’t easy.
But experience it in the right way we must, before it’s to late.
We are naturally self-biased and often set all kinds of conditions and expectations upon those we believe we show unconditional love to. I’m sure my Kids would testify to this, and I say that with untold regret.
I’m sure these things may well sound similar to your perceived troubles at times.
You still waiting for that text?
An invite to dinner?
That knock on your door because of a surprise visit?
Do you hold these things against your loved ones?
Do you feel they don’t pay you enough attention?
Do you feel their actions fail to demonstrate their love towards you?
I’m sorry to tell you that’s not unconditional love.
Unconditional love is defined as “affection without any limitations or love without conditions.”
So that’s no limits, rules or boundaries. No conditions.
A love that requires nothing in return.
Yet too often we believe there has to be a reward for our love in return. That is exactly what comes over from our actions and our words.
“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” Leo F. Buscaglia
Naturally, we feel that there is nearly nothing worse, than unreturned love. We have all felt it before, that hole in our chest that seethes with pain as you realize the object of your love seems not to return the feeling.
But no one said unconditional love was easy.
Doesn’t parenting demonstrate that at times to all of us.
We get no manual. No instructions to follow. We learn from our mistakes, but do we learn.
It hurts when we feel rejected, when we feel like failures. Yet maybe that isn’t how our children see us. It is the way we see ourselves.
As our children age, reach adulthood and build their own lives, we see them less, and naturally many of us find this difficult. But it’s the way nurturing is. We have to let them go, but that doesn’t mean loving them any less.
No matter how irritated we get with them, we know that we would throw ourselves in front of a bus to save our child’s life.
We all want to feel loved, particularly by our own children.
It isn’t easy.
It’s true, our children can drive us crazy.
But loving our children unconditionally does not mean only loving them if they return our love in the way we want them too. Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. As difficult as that may be in practice.
We worry about our children that’s natural. By being born our children, they deserve our unconditional love.
But how do we ensure we are giving them it?
Ask yourself “Am I truly acting with the most love I can for my child at this moment?”
Does my child really feel loved by me unconditionally?
That he/she doesn’t have to be, or do, anything in particular to earn your love?
“Accept the children the way we accept trees—with gratitude, because they are a blessing—but do not have expectations or desires. You don’t expect trees to change, you love them as they are.” Isabel Allende
At whatever age, when our children feel connected to us and supported by us it strengthens not only the bond that they have with us but their feelings about themselves too. It promotes their feelings of safety in the world and their understanding of themselves.
Parenting is really, truly, the hardest thing any of us will ever do, because it requires us to grow. But we must ensure they know we provide them with a safe haven, the ultimate backup when they are in need.
My mum was that person to me. A door I could knock on day or night. A friendly face, someone ready to put the kettle on, share a meal, take a friendly interest or, yes, offer that crucial hug of reassurance.
We need to demonstrate to our own children that we are that person to them.
To do that you can’t allow your fears, loneliness or needs to show them something different.
Just give them your unconditional love, and be inspired by how your heart feels without needing too much back.
“Try to see your child as a seed that came in a packet without a label. Your job is to provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull the weeds. You can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will bloom.” Anonymous
I have spent two wonderful days with one of my daughter’s and now have the joys of getting time with my other one as well as her two beautiful children my grandchildren. The love I feel for each of them is unconditional, although at times, like any parent I miss them and hanker for more. Yet I hope my daughters know how proud I am of their achievements and the way they have handled all adversities, in particular for the way they are. And I thank them for having given me the strength to battle through my ill health and rebuild my life demonstrating the power of unconditional love.
“When someone else’s happiness is your happiness. That is love.” Lana Del Rey