I don’t think a lot of people understand what they are committing to when they claim to love someone unconditionally. Throughout a lifetime, a person’s inner being will encompass many different identities. Loving someone unconditionally often means loving many different versions of them. Emotions change. Moods change. Personalities change. People… human nature is evolutionary. We change.
The simple truth is that love is hard because the person you fall in love with is not going to be the same person you spend your entire life with. I think that’s why we fail at relationships so much… We have this expectation that the person we meet *should* be the same person we wake up to every day and that’s just not how life works. We see all these messages about striving to be that same person our partner fell in love with, but rarely do you see messages that tell you that love should transcend the changes life carries us through. If you study me daily and I spend time getting to know you constantly, we should fall in love repeatedly through the course of our time here together.
Relationships fail because we don’t do that. We see change as terrifying so when we realize someone has changed, we oddly believe something is wrong when in reality, that’s all life is – growth. Who can grow without change? Who can find true happiness within someone else’s box? You can’t possibly love someone without welcoming their growth — and growing alongside them.
My expectation of my husband is that he will always be himself and will always be transparent about who he is, how he feels, what he thinks… that he will always ensure that he gives me the opportunity to know him completely. My expectation of him is not to be consistent. My expectation of him is to let me love him — all of him. And that he lets me love him honestly. And I expect him to give me that same freedom – to accept me and not expect me to apologize for who I am… and to allow me to always be assured that he will recognize when I grow — when I change — and that he will love all of me, too.
Unconditional love is love that is not subject to any terms. It’s love that is whole-hearted and needs no qualifications. It is love that is not limited or restrained. Unconditional love is not restrictive… It is a love that is absolute and unquestionable. If your love places conditions on who the other person can be or what the other person should do in order to keep you, please you, or fulfill you, then your love needs work. Conditions do not belong in the heart and people who place requirements on their love do not, in fact, love you…
And that, too, is okay. Not everyone was meant to love you – or love you forever. Some people were meant to teach you what love is — and likewise, what love is not. Some people were meant to hurt you… to leave you… to wake you up. Some people were meant to prepare you for the one who is meant to love you. The problem is, we’ve become unaware of the fact that not everyone is meant to stay and because of that, we try forcing things to be right for us when they aren’t. We’ve forgotten the importance of recognizing the purpose of each person we encounter, accepting the lessons they bring with them, allowing life’s seasons to change, and finding the inner strength to build enough courage to let go.
There comes a point where you have to put yourself first. When you find yourself struggling in a relationship — trying to measure up, trying to be “enough” and trying to earn their love — then you’ve reached a crossroads where you have to decide for yourself if this is worth sacrificing yourself for. The best thing you can do for yourself is say, “I will be who I am, and that may not always be comfortable for you… I will be who I am, and that may not always mean the same thing… I will be who I am, and if you can’t love me that way, then you can’t love me.” People will either stay or they will leave. That is a part of life… but you can’t bend yourself to keep them around or you will never find happiness.