The Paradox of Unconditional Love

(Part 2 of our Unconditional Love series)

Last week, in part one of our three-part series (Link to part one) on Unconditional Love, we opened up the possibility of living from a space of “I love you and I accept you even though I don’t understand you” rather than living from the world norm of “I don’t understand you, therefore, I don’t love or accept you.” Today we will answer the question that would naturally arise from living in a world of unconditional love.

If I’m loving and accepting everyone, does that mean they can do whatever they want and I am still supposed to love and accept them?

Here is where unconditional love becomes paradoxical because the answer is yes AND of course not. Wait! What the what??? Let’s use a couple of stories to illustrate.

A few weeks ago a man intentionally opened fire on the crowd at a festival, killing 59 people and injuring another 545. That is something that I can’t even comprehend anyone doing for any reason. The behavior for me is unacceptable. I have no idea what drove this person to this act. I likely never will know. I don’t know his story or the stories he was telling himself that led him to do what he did. Was it OK that he did it? No, absolutely not. Can I still love and accept him even though I will never understand why he did it. Yes. Why? Because I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for you, and I’m doing it for the benefit of the greater community.

What I know is that holding hate in my heart for this person will NEVER benefit me. Holding fear in my body that would keep me from going out to enjoy a festival will NEVER benefit me. My energy will go into what I DO want, which is for us to create a world where people don’t feel the need to behave in such a manner. I understand this may be a tough pill to swallow, especially if you were at the event. I’m only asking you to be open to the possibility and to consider what belief benefits you.

In our first example it is unlikely that any of us knew the man who committed the crime. What about when we know the person, or even when that person is supposed to be the one who loves us unconditionally?

A friend of mine found herself in a very unhealthy relationship. All was going great with her boyfriend, and she was ecstatic when he asked her to marry him. They soon moved in together and everything started changing. He became very moody, jealous and possessive, traits she hadn’t experienced with him. If she even spoke with another man he would accuse her of being unfaithful. He would demand to know where she was at all times. If she didn’t respond to his texts immediately, he would send guilt inducing texts that she didn’t love him.

She loved this man. He was to be her lifelong partner. She did everything she knew to please him, and it still wasn’t enough. Her fairytale romance turned into a nightmare, and yet, she still went through with the wedding because she told herself she loved him unconditionally. What she couldn’t see in that moment is that she stopped loving herself. If she did love herself, she would have seen how destructive his behavior was on her wellbeing.

Again, the behavior of this individual was not acceptable, and it definitely was not loving. It was controlling. After extricating herself from this messy situation, it would have been easy for her to harbor ill will towards this person. She doesn’t. She chose to stay positive and will tell you she loves him in a different way and is grateful for what she learned from the relationship. That said, she now loves herself too, and has made the choice to not have him in her life in any way. She can still love and accept him even though she doesn’t understand him. However, she doesn’t need to be part of his life.

So, yes, it is about staying in a place of love and acceptance for all people and it’s also about making the loving choices for yourself as to who you allow in your life.

In our third, and final, blog in this series on unconditional love, we will look at ways to connect with those who are toughest for you to connect with.

In the meantime, identify the places where you can send love to others and to yourself.