When I was younger, my dating life was geared toward finding unconditional love. I was convinced that the more love I unconditionally gave, the better my chances were of finally having it in a romantic relationship and getting to experience the return on investment that Happily Ever After is portrayed to be.
It didn’t work out that way.
I ended up becoming a backbone-less doormat. Loving this way had come at the cost self-respect.
Today, unconditional love is something that I fully believe in. It’s also something that I don’t believe in at all.
As a kid, I struggled with love in general. The people who genuinely and unconditionally loved me, I took for granted. And those that put conditions around their love for me at an age where conditions were more damaging than emotionally educational… I did everything I could to please and appease. This pedestaled them and left my 5-year-old self alone at the bottom, without a ladder.
In my little mind, unconditionally loving them, obeying the rules, and staying in line seemed to be the only ladder available. While their intentions were good and they did love me, these adults subconsciously engaged in a codependent relationship with me, the child. I was dependent on extracting a drop of their love, validation, and approval from the empty well that their conditions had run dry. I believe that they were dependent on the image that my obedience painted of them to others, as well as on my unconditional love, to invalidate their own perceived unlovable inadequacies from when they were young.
As I got older, this “unconditional love ladder” that never seemed to be tall enough, found it’s way into my romantic relationships and friendships.
That was the beginning of the end.
Instead of all the unconditional love I gave boomeranging back to me, it created life-robbing shame and loneliness that paralyzed me in the quicksand of relationsh*ts and friendsh*ts – one after the other.
Unconditional love also made me stay in familial relationships and other relationships just because there was blood relation, history, or some other kind of connection that’s only sacred if it is held up by mutuality – not unconditional love as a testament to loyalty.
I am writing this post as I write all of my posts – Not as an end-all-be-all, but to shed my own personal light on things that may have otherwise not been illuminated to help you out of pain, bad relational luck, toxic relationships, ambiguity, and insecurity that I know all too well. There is an exception to everything and a different way than anything can be interpreted. I went back and forth for a long time on whether to write about unconditional love. It’s one of those topics that can be very sensitive to discuss because everyone’s beliefs regarding it are tied to their own past experiences and pain. After thinking about it more, I knew I had to write about it.
Unconditional love is something that nearly robbed me of a life. It’s also something that saved my life.
Here’s what you need to know…