Unconditional love. What does
loving unconditionally mean? That we will love another, irrespective of
his or her behaviour, assuming we have learnt to separate the person
from the behaviour? In theory, that's a wonderful ideal but how often
does it work in practice.
Perhaps a parent/child relationship generally works that way. But what about the rest of our relationships?
we tend to love a spouse/partner, "unconditionally", until he/she does
something bad: Would you still love your spouse/partner,
unconditionally, if he/she began physically abusing you, or cheating on
you for example? Perhaps not.
Almost two decades ago, someone
came into my life who very definitely taught me about unconditional
love. Over the years, I have had to re-think my beliefs about many
things, including unconditional love – loving, no matter what - in
order to continue to have her in my space, otherwise with every
upsetting, hurtful, destructive behaviour I would have moved out of her
space, further and further, until such time as I was nowhere to be
found. The same would probably have been true for her,
however unintentional any of our hurtful behaviours might be.
until a few years ago, I was convinced that I was somehow blessed and
divinely guided, and that I knew what compassion and unconditional love
was all about, and that this is clearly what I felt, experienced and
demonstrated to this person.
But suddenly, I had what I believe was for me a "light bulb" moment.
the first time in nearly a decade in that relationship, all those years
ago, I was finally able (constructively, I hope) to mention some things
about certain behaviours which had caused me the full gamut of
"negative" emotions – anger, pain, hurt, anxiety, resentment, distress,
hopelessness. I believe I tackled the situation with calm, love,
compassion, decency, and emotional maturity.
from the moment I did this, I felt an immediate sense of unbelievable
peace. But more than that, I had such a rush of strong positive
feelings for this woman – the strongest ever up until that time. I felt
as though I was walking on air, my head in the clouds, kind of like
winning a few million dollars, I guess.
And I believe that at
the core of this feeling and this high is a sense of unconditional
love, in this case coming directly from my having been able to release
How did I make this huge leap from releasing
negativity to feelings of peace and unconditional love? For all those
years, I believed loving unconditionally meant that one loves another,
no matter what the other does, and without asking or expecting that
he/she change. But what if he/she does do something awful, or does
change as a person to something we can't relate to? Do we still love
My "light bulb" moment showed me something very
clearly: It isn't about the other person. It isn't about what he/she
does. It is about how we feel inside. All these years, clearly I was
stuck. I think those negative feelings were blocking me from something
very precious: Being able to feel unconditional love for this person
because it wasn't about her behaviour. It was about how I felt inside.
am of course not saying that people should therefore lash out, and be
violent and aggressive, so that they too can release negativity and
have immediate strong feelings of love. Definitely not. But taking
responsibility for all our feelings – positive and negative – and all
our actions – positive and negative – and treating our most important
relationships with love, compassion and understanding, might help us to
raise our consciousness and have more meaningful interactions with
people. And it gives us rational choice – do we stay, or do we walk
away. I have chosen to stay.
Being able to take one step
back from another’s behaviours, especially the perceived negative ones,
allows us to re-assess how we feel about all this, and not take it
personally. This has a huge spin-off, or at least it has had for
me – nearly two decades later, I still have this person in my life and
I am still in hers, in one form or another. Each of us has her
own life, and we have grown in many ways over the years.
Geographical distance and walking different paths is not always easy,
but then nothing worthwhile comes easy.
My “light bulb” moment
all those years ago has served us well. It has allowed us to
forgive the upsetting behaviours, of whatever nature, and embrace the
good stuff all of which has led to stronger feelings of connection,
wholeness and peace. We cannot control the behaviour of others.
But we can control our own perception of it, and how we choose to
handle it. ###www.houseofbeesting.comBeba Papakyriakou (BA, Hons BA Psychology)
business owner, published author, lay counsellor, two psychology
degrees. Appeared on national TV, handed over copyright of one of my
books to a non-profit. Working towards raising my own vibrations and
those of people around me. Finding expression through writing often
leads one towards wholeness. And fun.