As humans we have a desire to love and be loved. To be accepted and appreciated for who we are. It seems today more than ever, many feel judged and unaccepted for who they are. That people’s version of love and acceptance has many conditions and expectations, perhaps even demands attached to it. Leading those yearning for love, to feel “not being enough” in the presence of these conditions and expectations. One begins to avoid and isolate, fearful of vulnerability and more judgement. As fear is known as the absence of love, judgement can be seen as the withholding of love.
Love is intended to create freedom and offer space to create and grow individually and/or collectively. Thich Nhat Hanh said: “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” If love is conditional, it’s not pure authentic love. It’s love by possession and the need to control. Pure love is freedom and freedom is love.
A definition of divine love. I’ve come to appreciate divine love is: the unconditional love and acceptance of the spirit in all that exist. The divine loves and accepts the spirit-the energy of all it creates. This love is free of conditions and dogma, for the divine, only knows us as a vibrational aspect of itself.
The power of unconditional love, opens the heart and expands the mind. It creates a feeling of worthiness and significance to those who are exposed to this type of love. It offers inclusion and is grounded in the knowing of oneness, i.e. you are me and I am you. It seeks power-with, not power over.
As we attach conditions and expectations to those we say we love. It is important to realize the conditions and expectations we attach to ourselves. Self-love is critical in order to freely love others. What we do or don’t do to ourselves we will consciously or unconsciously do to others. If we struggle offering loving kindness to ourselves we will struggle offering this to others. I’ve come to understand, we hurt others, because we are hurting in the depths of ourselves.
As a soul in human form, we are here to experience the many aspects of life. We are here to remember our divinity and that we are love. We are here to expand our minds by opening our hearts through gratitude and compassion. We are here to create a higher and richer meaning to our lives and our being. We are here to not just fall in love, but more importantly to, rise as love. Because love is who we are. Love is our essence. To rise as love, is to aspire in ascending to a higher, more profound awareness and experience of unconditional love.
Love is the pathway to understanding, acceptance, compassion and forgiveness. Love will push every button, test your values, try every ounce of patience, challenge every strength, and trigger every wound and weakness. Above all this, love is an invitation to freedom and inner peace. Freedom and inner peace come through an open heart and a mind that is quiet; a mind free of unhealthy attachments and misidentifications.
Choosing unconditional love, especially in intimate relationships, offers a pathway to develop a high level of understanding, the willingness to accept each other where you are at, to have compassion towards yourself, and others, and the willingness to forgive or reconcile mistakes and differences.
Honest and open communication, mutual respect and commitment to each other, working toward common goals; and the ability to develop consensus between each other, are also pathways to a loving and fulfilling relationship.
David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC is author of new book, Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. Can be purchased online at balboapress.com, Amazon or Barnes & Noble