A rather divergent approach to the word.
Love. It’s probably the most over-used word in the world! Just rewind 24 hours of your life and recall the number of times you said or thought you loved something. “I love how beautiful the weather is today”, “Love your picture, man!”, “Totally love that song”, “I love how the author ended the book” and on and on and on… We say we ‘love’ things, people, our pets, the day and the list goes on. But do we actually love them or we ‘like’ them and call it ‘love’ instead. Let’s break this down a bit.
Wikipedia says “Love encompasses a variety of strong and positive emotional and mental states, ranging from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure.”
Wow, honestly, that’s too much information in one sentence to actually sink in. Love is a strong and positive mental state in a nutshell. That sums it up for me. Talking about mental states, do we really say we love something when we’re happy or we just throw the word around to express a feeling of affection towards something.
A lot of people in the past have told me that love must be unconditional. That you shouldn’t expect the other person to feel the same because expectations feed frustration and disappointment. And I can’t agree to this enough. However, I believe love can never be one way. This doesn’t mean the ‘love’, so to speak, must be only a feeling of romance or physical intimacy. This stands true for your family, siblings, friends, your passions and even attitude. Let me explain…
You’ll often hear dog owners saying that they love their pets as they’d love their children and some times even more. Is this love one-way and has no expectations? Abso-fucking-lutely not! You may think that this love is unconditional and knows no bounds. But is it really unconditional? Let’s look at this from a different perspective. You get a pet, say a dog, and it, the dog, instantly gets attached to you, gets used to your routine and the way you do things. And you do the same, try to understand it, figure out its personality and do things that makes it comfortable. Isn’t this a barter? An unsaid deal? There are expectations involved. You expect the dog to probably fill a void in your life. Be it coming home to someone, entertainment for your folks, adorable Instagram pictures or even just someone to take care of. You expect loyalty. We say a dog is man’s best friend. But a dog too has its expectations from you. It expects to be fed, it expects warmth, a healthy environment, a master that loves it. Unconditionally.
According to the dictionary, unconditional means giving something to someone freely, without anything being required in return.
So is loving your pet really unconditional?
It is. You get a pet knowing that it WILL pass away one day and leave you. Or you’d leave it under unfortunate circumstances. Given that, you still take the leap and make it a part of your life, you share your happy moments and your lowest days. expecting just one thing in return. Affection.
I recently watched a show called American Vandal S2. It shows how a few students get cat-fished on social media and commit unacceptable crimes at their alma mater. The most striking thing about the show was the fact that how the targeted students fell in love with an online profile that they had practically never met. Which turned out to be a fake profile and landed them in trouble. But here’s what got me thinking… Can someone really fall for a person via mere texts and online communication? It only goes to prove how desperate people are for love and get attracted to affection, whenever, wherever and however they find it. Was this love unconditional? Yes, totally! But was it calculated? Not really.
Loving human beings isn’t easy. You see, human beings are complicated. We have personalities and the worst part, we have opinions. Opinions about how we evaluate people based on our experiences, our social and political views, about careers, about life in general and more importantly opinions about love. Let’s face it. There isn’t a single formula that works to be successful at love. You may find that one person that you think is just the right one for you but, and it’s a but in capital letters, does that person look at you the same way? How justifiable is it to love ‘unconditionally’ and have no expectations at all. To nurture that relationship for an indefinite period of time to only make nothing of it in the end. I’ve had a few of those and it has made me very conscious about my life decisions.
But I guess that’s the beauty of it. The uncertainty that pushes you to become the best version of you. To push your limits and and be a better human. I believe there’s a difference between unconditional love and loving without any expectations. Unconditional love for me is this constant effort towards that one person you feel is the right one for you while having no expectation will leave you with nothing to chase. This love, as we know it, is not necessarily romantic or all about physical intimacy but what it’s actually comes down to nurturing the connection.
Someone once told me, and rightly said, “You are not always going to be in love. Respect is very important in a relationship because love fades”. And that’s the exact question you need to ask yourself when you decide to go down the path of ‘unconditional’ love. Would you respect the person’s decision if this all goes down and amounts to nothing? Would you still see this person the same way as you’ve always seen them? If not, back the fuck off. Cause this will lead to nothing but disappointment and frustration. But if your answer to that question is a YES, go ahead and give it all you got! The feeling of having nothing to lose is the best motivator, hands down. Don’t make it about giving your relationship labels and tags. Be who you are. Stand for what you believe. Leave the rest to fate and take each day as it comes. You’d either end up with a friend for life or the perfect life partner that you’ve always been looking for.
Seek positivity. The way you see yourself leads to how the world starts seeing you.