Unconditional love is a noble concept on par with communism, heaven, and Neverland. It’s an aspiration, a motivation to engage in behavior that is conducive to better relations between people. Beyond that, it’s a contrarian affirmation of the cruelty inherent in this world…
In my article on the shaky notion of New Age love, I got a response saying that the article was inaccurate because it failed to address the subject correctly. Loving someone unconditionally is all about accepting a person as he or she is, the commentator said, no matter his or her actions and shortcomings. ‘If you’re going to write about something, please give it an accurate descriptor and/or do some research on the subject so you can be factually correct,’ I was prompted.
I responded by saying I had saved that for my next article i.e. this one.
So, let’s get right to it. Here are a few points on unconditional love for those of you who aspire to it, so that we may test its efficacy regarding cases where one is supposed to love not all strangers and their grandmother, but people one knows, regardless of their faults and shortcomings.
Note that I’m not basing the argument on elaborate research because it isn’t necessary. See for yourselves.
- If a man abuses you psychologically and physically in front of other people, hug him, kiss him, and love him unconditionally. You’re the better person.
- If a woman belittles your dreams and smothers you at will, embrace her. She’s just trying to protect you. Love her unconditionally, and be around her all the time because that’s what good people do.
- If a colleague puts you down all the time, be kind and nurturing to him. So what if you lose all your confidence and self-worth? He’s just an angry little boy desperate to sort out his feelings. Love him unconditionally and he’ll come around.
- If a family member drains the life force out of you, let her. So what if you wake up eighty years old and with one foot in the grave, with your life gone and nothing to show for it as an individual? Love her unconditionally and it will have all been worth it.
- If your son is problematic and prone to harming people, don’t hold it against him. Just love him without fail. It’s what a good parent does. Don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded for your pain either in this life or the next. If someone dies by his hand, don’t worry. The victim’s relatives will love you unconditionally, as you would, too, undoubtedly, had their son killed yours.
- Ditto for a problematic daughter.
Too extreme? Well, unconditional love was never intended for the mild cases, like breaking someone’s sunglasses or eating the last yoghurt in the fridge. It’s supposed to work in tragic and catastrophic situations.
So, yes, the above examples are way-extreme, but relevant. They trace out the ridiculous nature of this wonderful-in-theory but inapplicable-in-practice notion. Unconditional love for both strangers and loved ones is a great fairytale, one that paints the world ideal, but in reality renders more victims than survivors. It’s a feelgood notion that makes life in a cruel world, where suffering is almost guaranteed, more bearable. But when all is said and done, it turns out it has added to the problem, enabling the cruel and problematic people among us to take advantage of the hopeful and kind-hearted.
I prefer stories of defiance and resistance, grit and determination. I like to hear about the individuals who stand up to a problem and focus on how to solve it, not how to be “righteous.” Solutions are what makes the world go round. They beat vague moralism any time of the day.