Is unconditional love a thing? And if it is…is it an aspirational thing?
This week, one of our lovely crew members wrote in to ask me if she should be striving for, “unconditional love” in her dating life (so far, no luck, she reported). It’s something we’ve all been taught to desire, right? The romantic notion of love without limits.
Do you have a belief that for love to be real or juicy or amazing you need to accept someone totally unconditionally?
The illusion of unconditional love is fueled by unrealistic goals. While some might think this is just a little lesson in semantics, it’s much more than that. I’ve seen so many women in my practice and in my courses really struggle with the concept of unconditional love, so I believe that dispelling the myth is valuable.
In this week’s episode, I’m tackling unconditional love and what you might want instead.
Now here’s a little something that might blow your mind…from a therapeutic perspective, love without limits is in reality unhealthy. It can set us up to be codependent, self-sabotaging and self-abandoning.
If you’re striving for unconditional love, you might be reticent to express a preference or say, No. Whether you’re dating or in a relationship, the idea that you should love without limits can create guilt or shame about how you really feel.
Having conditions in a relationship does not make you demanding.
It makes you a person with healthy boundaries.
What it boils down to is simple: unconditional love is love without boundaries. And you all know how I feel about boundaries. They are necessary and indeed the foundation upon which healthy, vibrant love is built.
I don’t think unconditional love should be aspirational. Love has to have conditions for both partners if it’s going to be functional, lasting and yes, EPIC. If you don’t have any conditions about how others will treat you and vice versa in your love life, that means you don’t have boundaries. We have to know what our limits are and putting conditions on your relationship is a way to honor those limits. I kinda think that for some people the word condition has a negative connotation – like a dirty negotiating tactic or something, “Alright Bob, I said I’d do it but on one CONDITION!” That is not what we’re talking about here – we are equating conditions to standards or boundaries.
So how do you start to create healthy, boundaried love? The first step is to start to understand if you have limiting beliefs in your unconscious mind about the way you should be when it comes to love. Those beliefs might be driving your behavior in a way that’s blocking you from getting what you actually want.
In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you some therapeutically-designed questions that will help you identify your relationship to unconditional love and any unconscious material that might be keeping you stuck chasing an unrealistic or unhealthy ideal. Once you raise your awareness, you can shift your mindset.
Let’s move into some of the relationship traits and qualities that demonstrate what real, healthy love looks like in practice:
- Being able to be vulnerable with your partner. You each respond with empathy and encouragement, even when the going gets tough.
- There is a safe space for one another to share your best and worst moments without feeling like you’re going to be judged or shamed.
- You can tell one another the truth and have uncomfortable conscious conversations. No matter how mad or upset you are with your partner (or they are with you), you are always on the same team.
- You can forgive one another and say you’re sorry. You’re able to give it up to the other person when you’re in the wrong because you can trust they won’t take advantage of your vulnerability.
- When you make a mistake, you actively work to rebuild the trust in the relationship. You’re more committed to making restitution than to being “right”.
- You have deep empathy for one another. You feel safe and at home with one another. You respect one another’s boundaries and can openly communicate your wants, needs, desires, and preferences…as well as your deal-breakers and non-negotiables.
- You bring out the best in one another. Your partner inspires you to be better than you would be without them and vice versa.
- Healthy interdependence. You have your own life. They have their own life. Together you make a doubly beautiful life.
I’ve pulled together a full list of what healthy conditional love looks like and included it in this week’s downloadable guide along with your Unconditional Love Blueprint Q’s. You can get that right here.
A quick note on codependency:
Real love is about healthy intimacy and mutual support NOT codependency. I make this distinction because intimacy and closeness are often mistaken for codependency. Codependency is when you are overly invested in controlling the outcomes, feeling states and choices of the other person. I wrote a whole blog about this and you can check that out right here.
Real healthy love is what this is all about and in my opinion, that kind of love is built on having conditions (as I said above we could also term it having boundaries, agreements, rules of engagement, etc) that support how you want to interact and feel inside your romantic relationship. If this episode made you think, please share it! Together let’s uplift as many people as possible on planet earth with knowledge (and bust the myth of unconditional love to boot!)
Let’s keep this conversation going! My Wednesday Wisdom series is back just in time for Real Love Revolution season, so please join me LIVE at 3 PM EST tomorrow. (You can sign up here to get a reminder right before I go live so you don’t miss a thing!)
Thank you for taking the time today for YOU, to improve your mental health and to learn more about how to create real, vibrant love. As always, take care of you.