Do you guys ever feel as though you are being “loved” only under certain circumstances…like there was a whole “I agree to the terms and conditions” section upon entering into a relationship with another human that you completely MISSED? I feel like this often with many different people in my world. It used to really get to me too. But I have come to terms that a majority of people in our world only know how to love conditionally, because that’s all that society teaches us.
I mean come on, think about it, society teaches us to act a certain way—to bite your tongue and tell little white lies when you may disagree with someone older or in a more respectable position than you. To go to college and get a degree, or three, that you will never use, while you put yourself $60,000 in debt. Society teaches us to have a career chosen by the time we are 20, to be married by the time we are 25, and to have a house and some babies by the time we are 30, all the while still racking up the debt. These are the terms and conditions set by society that you and I more or less agreed to the day we came out of the womb. If you fail to meet these conditions society begins to look at you in a different light. If you do not bite your tongue, you are rude and defiant. If you don’t have a college degree it is next to impossible to start, and keep, a “good career”. If you aren’t married with children by the time you are 30, there must be something seriously wrong with you. Talk about some serious pressure! Do you know how many amazing, talented, brilliant people there are in this world who were once 30 and lost like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away”?
But it seems as though wherever you go in today’s world people judge you and love you based off of your status in society. It’s a conditional love. If you don’t fit into someone’s pre-molded squares, then they just can’t love you. They may REALLY like you, but society tells them they are not to love you. These are the people that hinder personal growth. When someone puts conditions on you, they are not allowing you to be the best version of yourself. They are more or less forcing you to make a choice, their way, or your own way. You see this often in families. I personally see it in the education system, and it is detrimental to children! So what if your adult sister wants to travel the world with very little money? Who cares if your son is 35 and not married, or your brother is 40 and has no children. Does it personally impact your world if your daughter has a couple of college degrees collecting dust in a box somewhere? Or if she chooses to go down a completely different career path? How can we put parameters on what the adults in our world choose to do? I think it’s because we are uncomfortable. See, people will say that they “love” you and that’s why they are questioning you and your judgements. They just know that you will be unhappy and regret your decision, but really what they are saying is they are scared. You are breaking rules and that’s not okay, because society says it isn’t. It makes them squirm a little.
What if we all loved each other unconditionally? How different would our world look? Well, that sister who is just a broke bum traveling the world, has some major experiences and memories that money will never be able to buy. Your bachelor son has no added responsibilities as he tries to climb his way out of student loan debt. Your 40 year old brother has been waiting until he feels he is patient and ready to give his entire being to fatherhood, he will be the best dad ever. Your daughter is following her passion, she wants to have a career that she falls in love with every day, not one that just adds misery to the top of the pile of money she could be making. If we loved people unconditionally, we would be watering someone’s potential. We would be able to appreciate them wherever they are in their journey of life. We would be able to see the beauty in the choices they have made. We could admire their bravery and happiness. We may even be able to learn something from them.
The life that each of us has been given, is a beautiful gift. It is sacred and meant to be lived fully. Part of living fully is loving fully. Seeing people at face value, not saying you love them while you wait for them to get where you want them to be, but loving them with no judgements, no terms, no conditions. Loving them where they are RIGHT NOW. The day before tomorrow. I encourage you to reflect on the love you are giving and practice loving unconditionally.