Why is it so difficult to love unconditionally? The simple answer is fear. You may suspect that loving so deeply will encourage others to take advantage of you. If, out of love, you agree to babysit a friendâ€™s children, what will stop her from asking you for the same favor again and again? Also, you may be unwilling to trust people to reciprocate the love that you show them. If you spent hours preparing a special dinner for your husband, it would be very upsetting if he did nothing for you in return. If such fears concern you, know this: loving others unconditionally is a radical and fundamental avenue toward happiness.
When you love unconditionally, you have no choice but to shed the selfishness and insecurity that are often the very causes of your suffering. There is no time to be self-centered if your newborn twins require nightly diaper changes at 3 am. Indeed, you will find that the act of loving itself gives you happiness, not receiving love from others. If you hold others responsible for making you happy, you will eventually be disappointed.
Instead, decide to love others regardless of how they treat you, and experience the hidden joy of this simple choice. Of course, do not stay in abusive relationships. Unconditional love does not require that you subject yourself to excessive mistreatment. In such cases, the first step is forgiveness, which is explored in your wiliness to be open to giving and receiving love.
Unfortunately, loving unconditionally does not come to most people naturally. So how do we do it?
- Start with yourself. Many of us suffer from a lack of self-love. It is virtually impossible to truly love others without regarding yourself with compassion and acceptance. Loving-kindness meditation is a great way to begin this process, and leads to increased experiences of positive emotions such as joy and hope. Learn to always love yourself…first!!!
- Select a target. Think of someone who deserves your unconditional love. It could be a parent, husband or wife, sibling, or friend. Start with someone with whom you already have a healthy relationship and gradually expand to others from there. The healthy relationship is your model, if you can have one you CAN have many!
Discuss in one paragraph what traits you value in a friend? In a significant other? There are likely many overlaps. Thus, explore the difference between loving and being in love. Provide one reference to support what you state (not the course text wikipedia or any online dictionaries). Use the video below as a guide, how does the video perpetuate friendship?
Explore video a and b below. If you were in either of the situations what would you do? Analyze what is happening in each video? Is it a difficult choice to remain just friends? Why/Why not? How has social media impacted today’s relationship formation? Is this good or bad? Again support your statements with a reference (not the course text, wikipedia or any online dictionaries)
Using Sternberg’s theory from the chapter and the video below discuss your current relationship status and why this is your current status. If you are not currently in a relationship discuss how you would obtain the desired status from the theory. Include whether you are where you want to be in your current or most recent relationship. And, how you get there or maintain. Conclude with the name or video of a song and a quote that always makes you think of love (for a friend, child or your significant other), why this song? Why this quote?