One of the most common limiting beliefs about love is that conditional love is “lesser” love, and that you will never be fully and truly loved until you are loved unconditionally.
If you continue to hang on to the storybook idea that true love is unconditional, you will miss how deeply we all want to be chosen above all others because of who we are.
If you choose, you can disrupt this limiting belief by recognizing that what you most want is to be seen and then consciously chosen by another. While the idea of being loved no matter what may be comforting, true security comes from being seen and then freely chosen, moment after moment, by the one we love.
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE – THE ETERNAL HOPE
I’ve been writing recently about some of our outdated ideas about love – ideas that need to be “disrupted” if we want to stop thinking about love and start experiencing it instead. And the more I write, the more I realize that trying to become “loveable” can feel like really hard work. As I noted in other blogs (click to links), we may feel that unless we achieve independence, perfection, vulnerability, and a host of other qualities, we will never be worthy of the love we are looking for. Preparing for love in this way can turn our lives into one endless self-improvement project. It is not surprising, then, that we find the thought of unconditional love so appealing. If our romantic partner could love us now as unconditionally as our parents did in our youth, we might finally feel truly secure in both love and in life.
But irrespective of whether it is even possible in a romantic context, I’m not sure that unconditional love could ever satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
ETERNAL BUT NOT CONDITIONAL
I must confess that I don’t know where the dividing line may lie between “conditional” and “unconditional” love. Juli and I have never been able to pinpoint the “boundaries” of our love; it feels as if it has always been and always will be, and it exists independent of mood, circumstance, or even how we happen to feel about each other in the moment. There are probably things we could do to make it impossible to live out our love in this lifetime, but that wouldn’t touch the inviolability of our underlying connectedness. But there is something fundamental to our connectedness that is decidedly conditional, and that we deeply appreciate, and that is, that our relationship is the product of choice.
TO SEE, TO LOVE, AND TO CHOOSE
Most us are willing to go to great lengths to make ourselves ‘loveable.”We will make near-heroic sacrifices to accumulate wealth, achieve status, or mold our physical forms into some idealized version of ourselves.
But very few of us really want to be loved for money or fame or our good looks. Rather, we just want to be loved for who we are. More than anything else, we want to be seen, to be chosen, and to be loved.
And when seeing, loving, and finally, choosing, coalesce, you will find yourself residing in a state of Unimaginability, living out the deepest dreams that you didn’t even know you were dreaming.
TO BE SEEN…
When I speak of being “seen,” I am not simply referring to your beloved seeing “this or that” about you. While they may see and love you for your heart, your courage, your brilliance, or your wit, the “seeing” I am referring to is a total inhalation and understanding of who and what you are at your very core. They see all the way down to the deepest recesses of your being, the part of you that is already Whole, the source of all of the “this or that’s” that makes you Who You Are.
If they are blessed with “eyes to see,” what they will see is your very soul.And when that divine connection is made, they cannot help but love that which is seen.
…TO BE LOVED…
Irrespective of which came first – whether the “seeing” leads to the love or the love enables the “seeing” – the love that accompanies this seeing is truly unique. It is both transcendent and deeply personal. The poets might even say that this love is the connecting point between heaven and earth.
The love that I experience with Juli brings with it a familiar quieting of the mind, an abiding sense of truth, and a liberating exuberance. It has the same awe-inspiring qualities as my deepest transcendent experiences, those momentary glimpses of Freedom that occasionally graced me during 40 years of relentless spiritual digging and renunciation.
But unlike those mystical experiences in my seeking days where I temporarily “disappeared,” this love is definitely experienced by a “me.” When I look into Juli’s eyes, I see what she “sees,” enabling me to instantaneously experience myself as the man who she sees and loves. This love is in a very real way particular to me, unique to me, even conditional to me. I am being loved for the particular expression of the divine that happens to be me, and me alone.
…AND TO BE CHOSEN
You would think that once two people have seen and loved each other in this way, their connection would be complete.
But there is one more step necessary to “seal the deal.”
A step that is an essential assertion of individuality.
A step that is anything but unconditional. You have to choose as your partner this person who sees and loves you.
God or Heaven or The Angels or the The Universe or Blind Luck has placed this person and this opportunity in front of you, but it is always our choice to say “YES.”
YES, I’m finished with the tragic story that I’ve been telling myself and others for years on end. YES, I am finished with waiting, with pushing life out ahead of me into a future that I’ll never have to face. YES, I am ready to face the truth, to find out whether I am actually capable of happiness, if the universe really has my best interest at heart, whether I can trust another, or trust myself, or, most radically of all, trust LIFE.
And all of these YES’s – and many more -come down to single act, a resounding “YES!” to your beloved that says, I CHOOSE YOU. Not because I have no choice but to love you, but rather, because I choose to do so.