"Love that isn't given freely isn't love." Happy Cow
When writing, I often try to make it clear that when I use the word ‘love’, I am referring to unconditional love. As far as I am concerned, anything that has conditions is not love at all. It may be strong personal desire or personal attachment, a form of possessiveness, a wish to control and direct, a quid pro quo arrangement or a longing for some imaginary life gap to be filled.
Readers who have children will probably be in the best position to grasp my understanding of love, one which I never fully grasped until becoming a father.
Parent-child love is often (although not always) something that is not based on any conditions.
It is not ‘I will love you so long as you love me back’ or ‘I will love you as long as you are nice to me’ or ‘I will love you as long as you are good and do what I say’, or ‘I will love you as long as you maintain that red hot sexy young body and refrain from nagging’.
It is far more pure and simple. It is ‘I love you and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it’.
I think most parents will agree that when our children are naughty or unloving, or even sometimes downright obnoxious, it may cause temporary dissatisfaction on the surface, but there is absolutely no way we can stop loving them. The underlying love is not in any way dependent on circumstances. It is constant. It is totally unshakable.
Now I want to consider what it might mean to love life. We have all come across shiny happy people who purport to love their life. Everything is always described as ‘good’ and ‘positive’ and even more unbelievably, it is always getting ‘better and better and better’.
That kind of perfect life story reminds me of the kind of parents who like to pretend that their children are always all sweetness and light and they are never naughty, never unloving, never fight with each other, always doing terribly well at school etc. Those parents may be able to bring out these perfect children and show them off, because they have not been allowed to grow up naturally, but strongly conditioned and moulded into this supposedly 'perfect' (or should that be perfectly dull) personality.
I would also say that I love life, but I do not in any way wish to pretend that it is always ‘good’ or always getting ‘better and better’. There is absolutely no need to do that and that is not what love means anyway. The arbitrary judgements ‘good’ and ‘better’ will actually directly prevent love. Love, as we mentioned at the start, is unconditional.
To love life is to totally accept that it has downs as well as ups, but that love is beyond those. Love doesn’t judge things ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, ‘better’ or ‘worse’. Love simply loves, for no reason whatsoever. Life contains the full spectrum of experience and emotion. Love loves it all. Everything.
Most parents will probably agree with me that to love their children through the inevitable ups and downs of parenthood is one of the most wonderfully fulfilling experiences that they have ever encountered. I would suggest that if you can approach the whole of life with that same kind of love, then it all starts to become wonderfully fulfilling, without any need to pretend that everything is always 'positive'.
Imagine that life is your creation, your ‘baby’. It is not going to be perfect. To pretend so is delusional and narcissistic. If it were perfect it would undoubtedly be just as boring as those ‘terribly well-behaved kids’ or as the script in my previous article Hellish Heaven. But it is your creation which you will love unconditionally, no matter what.
There is absolutely no need to self-hypnotise with religious belief, positive thinking, NLP, affirmation, mantra or some other such technique. There is no need to pretend to yourself or anyone else that everything is always rosy.
Just love life.
"If your love requires effort, it is not love." Swifty Flame-Anderson
Love life when it happens to be nice and kind and sweet and loving. Love life when it happens to be unreasonable and naughty and rude and obnoxious. This is your baby. This is your creation. Keep on loving no matter what and you will keep on reaping that reward that is way beyond any arbitrary notions of ‘good’, ‘positive’ or ‘better’.
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