The Meaning of Unconditional Love

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This is a weekly advice column written by my mother, Fariba. If you have any questions or would love an opinion on something, please feel free to ask in the comments below. 

beach with a heart drawn in the sand

What is unconditional love? I came across this quote a few days ago by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, an American psychologist, that said, “The only thing that truly heals people is unconditional love.”

I thought this would be a good subject to touch upon for this week’s column. 

I believe one of the hardest things one can do is to love unconditionally, and yet, at the same time one of the easiest and perhaps most natural things one can do is to love unconditionally.

In our relationships with family members, friends, and colleagues, we all tend to have expectations, expectations that we want met. And as long as those expectations are met, we are happy and loving.

But what if those expectations aren’t met? Are we able to still love them? 

I believe that’s where we recognize unconditional love. It’s in that moment that you realize those who didn’t meet your expectations are still just as near and dear to you.  

We often see this kind of love between a parent and a child, but it’s harder to see sometimes in our other relationships. There are typically strings attached to our love and the other side of those strings are expectations. 

I wish we could cut those strings and really love each other, regardless of our flaws or our failure to live up to a certain criteria. 

That said, I also believe in striving to be the best version of ourselves that we can be without being asked to do so. If we do a good deed for the first person we come across, each morning, we’d probably not only make their day, but our own as well.

The gesture can be as simple as a smile and wishing them a good day, buying them a cup of coffee, helping them carry a heavy load, or holding the door for them.

If we all did those good deeds, can you imagine what kind of world we would have today? Let’s love with no conditions and no strings attached! 

6 thoughts on “The Meaning of Unconditional Love”

  1. Love this article. But I have to admitt that sometimes I struggle with conditional love with my fellow humanbeings…. but its extremely easy with animals. ❤️

  2. Across all societies in the modern era it would seem that unconditional means to simply allow children to do what they wish.

    I’m an advocate of children needing boundaries, I raised my children with regular mealtimes and bedtimes, also yes meant yes and no was no.

    I grew up neglected so intuitively understood that decision making at such an early age, not having the wider World view, is beyond the purview of the child.

    However to balance what may seem a rather draconian attitude they had my spontaneous affection something I felt was lacking in my ex. Nor have I found her attitude unique. Today it would seem that negotiation is the name of the game. That is not unconditional love merely an abandoning responsibility. To take it back to your original point time would therefore be one of the cornerstones of any thoughts on unconditional love and applies as much to our duties as a properly functioning society as it does to raising children, if at a lower intensity and volume.

    It is somewhat of a strange coincidence that you brought up the subject of unconditional love as I am just working through a hypothesis on School shootings and the role Benjamin Spock’s work may have played in creating the emotional make up of the children involved. Spock’s work involved instructing mom to virtually ignore the child to allow them to become themselves. He was highly influential at the time (you’re obviously too young B’s Mom and may have missed just what an effect he had 🙂 ], yet when you have such a pernicious influence or impact on society it’s effect can take more than one generation to begin to take it’s toll. I think it has created a sibling rivalry exacerbated into the serious psychosis we see.

    It then somewhat ties back into your point of if we had a moment or two in our day for others it is not only beneficial to them but to ourselves. Now with Social Media turning us all into Spock’s perfect self centred Mom you may be talking into a void.

    One would hope not as the things you mention are still in evidence even if not as often as we would like or that’s healthy for a fully functional society.

    • Great comments, David! It actually provided some great information for another post from Mom regarding finding the right balance between giving love and affection to your child and balancing that out with boundaries, rules, and routine. I always grew up feeling like my mom did a really good job of that and am always asking her if she’d share her tips so that if I ever have a kid one day, I can practice her advice. Thanks for your thoughtful response! 🙂


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