March 31, 2022

Level-up Your Love

Most love today is the disposable kind - largely based on physical attraction and “chemistry”. Everything’s great until the other person doesn’t meet your expectations in some way and suddenly, the “love” evaporates and you’re back online looking for a replacement. This love is 100% conditional. The conditions are superficial and when it ends, the “love” you proclaimed is quickly and seamlessly transferred to the next person with whom you feel a spark. I believe this type of love is rooted in unaddressed childhood trauma and emotional immaturity. These couples can’t go very deep emotionally and are unable to connect on the level of true intimacy and vulnerability. They simply don’t know how.

Unconditional love is something altogether different. Conditional love is felt only when the person is in a partnership with you - unconditional love doesn’t depend on togetherness. Conditional love desires the happiness and well-being of the other person, but only if their wants/needs don’t conflict with yours and only for as long as you are a couple. Unconditional love desires the happiness and well-being of the other person whether or not you stay together as a couple.

Unconditional love encourages the self growth and evolution of each partner without feeling threatened by the growth. In fact, this type of relationship accelerates your evolution and growth. With unconditional love, you talk to your partner about your relationship issues - not to your friends. Sounds amazing right? Amazing and challenging. Possibly the biggest challenge you’ll ever be faced with - and maybe that’s why most couples don’t even try. It requires a strong sense of self and the ability to put aside ego and pride and dig in deep - really deep. Are you intrigued? If so, read on.

With unconditional love you don’t hide the qualities about yourself that you don’t like. You can be your authentic self. The inability to be authentic is part of unconditional love. You can’t have true intimacy with someone if you are hiding parts of yourself. To be authentic is scary - we are afraid that our partner won’t accept us for who we truly are. Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to be 100% your authentic self with your partner and to be completely accepted. To know you are loved and wanted for who you actually are - no caveats and no judgment. WOW!!!

Neither of you is co-dependent. You are each a whole person on your own and don’t seek another to make you feel whole; therefore, you don’t loose yourself in the relationship. Each of you is a sovereign being and you come together to create a relationship, but not a dependent one. Co-dependents only feel self esteem and self confidence when in a relationship. Co-dependents feel lack when alone. It’s hard to set boundaries because you’re afraid your boundaries will scare the other person away. You are afraid to state your needs and wants for the same reason. In a co-dependent relationship, one partner often takes responsibility for the other partner - and makes excuses for the other partner’s inability to fully participate in the relationship. There is an imbalance to this type of relationship and one partner often feels the he/she loves more than the other. They blame each other for problems, neither wants to take responsibility, and they have difficulty being honest about how they feel.

Interdependence is different from co-dependence. With interdependence, you depend on each other and you depend on the relationship, but there is no enmeshment or loss of boundaries. The partnership isn’t where you get your sense of self or self confidence because you came into the relationship with an already defined sense of self. You count on the other person to be there to support you and you count on the relationship to be strong enough to withstand the challenges of life, but you feel “whole” with or without that support. You rely on your partner and vice versa, but not from a needy, insecure place. You don’t have the desire to “rescue” and you don’t desire to be rescued.

You set boundaries and openly state your wants and needs. Each partner takes responsibility for his/her feelings and actions and is honest about wants and needs.. Hearing your partner express his/her wants and needs doesn’t throw you into a state of defensiveness or guilt. It’s honest sharing in an environment where your are both heard and accepted.

Both of you are committed to strengthening and deepening the connection. Even when a topic feels uncomfortable or you are hesitant to bring it up, you understand that doing so will strengthen the relationship - not threaten it. With unconditional love, the deeper you go, the stronger you become so difficult topics are welcomed in discussion because they are a challenge to both of you to grow and forge a stronger bond. This type of partnership welcomes the challenge that comes with sharing your respective truth and using truth to build the relationship instead of destroying it. This requires the emotional maturity not to take things personally and not to be in an ego/pride headspace. You might be afraid to be so honest - but you do it anyway because you understand it will make you stronger.

The other person is your mirror - reflecting your behavior and traits back to you. This is true of all relationships and especially true with an intimate partner. Having your unfiltered self mirrored back to you can be uncomfortable and is often the reason that couples break up - because taking an honest look in the mirror makes many people run the other way. It brings up all your insecurities and shows you the areas where you are not so perfect. It’s difficult to see and accept yourself for both your healthy traits and your not-so-healthy traits. Unconditional love mirrors you, not in an accusatory or degrading way, but in a supportive and understanding way. Understanding that none of us are perfect and that none of us always behave on the level of our ideal opens the door to a deeper level of knowing oneself, knowing one’s partner, and acceptance of what is instead of judging what isn’t.

Unconditional love requires that you stand in your truth with integrity and honesty. There is no room for lies or deceit. To keep and deepen your connection and be true to your authentic self, you must be honest about how you feel - always and in all ways. You share your truth with your partner no matter how scary or uncomfortable it may be, and you must be able to hear your partner’s truth without judgment and without internalizing or personalizing the information. Your partner attentively listens and seeks to understand you, and you attentively listen and seek to understand your partner. The focus is on understanding, not becoming defensive, argumentative, angry, offended, or dismissive. You may not share the same perspective but each of you affirms the other’s perspective as valid and true and you seek a resolution from a place of unity.

*My inspiration for this post is a video from Christina Lopes. Watch her video here.