Love is Not Abusive
Unconditional love is often mistaken for tolerating abuse, poor behavior and other ills. For the loved one to be completely free to be themselves without judgment or negative consequences. To equally be accepted for their flaws and weaknesses as for their gifts and strengths. To be forgiven no matter what the circumstances.
Said this way, unconditional love sounds very much like the fantasy of a petulant child. Basically, they are allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want. Then, if someone truly loves them, they will accept this behaviour without anger or judgment. It’s kind of like a get out of jail free card.
The really awful thing is that many people try to emulate this vision. They assume that in order to prove that they love someone (or someone loves them) that any and all behaviour is acceptable. Some even convince themselves that abuse is okay but love is not abusive.
What most people don’t understand is that giving unconditional love is not about providing a person with everything they want, being a doormat, or ignoring inappropriate behaviour. It’s not okay to use or hurt other people. Unconditional love is not about allowing children to live without consequences. It’s not about letting intimate partners take advantage of someone else’s good intentions.
Likewise, unconditional love is not co-dependent. It isn’t about giving attention, favours, or gifts in order to get something in return. Giving unconditional love does not automatically come back in the same quality or quantity.
Unconditional love is sincere and honest. It looks at the best of a person and encourages that individual to step forth. Then, it stands back, allowing that individual to choose for him or herself. There simply is no room for smallness or self-centeredness with unconditional love.
Unconditional Love Begins at Home
Unconditional love starts with self understanding, compassion, and self love. No one can truly love someone else if they don’t love themselves first. This usually means taking a good hard look at themselves, seeing the fear that drives their every move, and being willing to face that emotion in a gentle caring way. Essentially, they must become their own best friend, someone willing to speak the raw truth and then stand by them when times get difficult.
Loving Others Unconditionally Comes Naturally
The wonderful thing is that once someone loves themselves unconditionally, it is second nature to love others in the same way. Love is given freely without expectations. It becomes easier to set and defend personal boundaries knowing to do so is important and loving. In the process, they also learn to realize when guidance is truly needed and when space is required.