Nothing on earth hurts my soul deeper than conditional love.
This is a big one, right? As parents, we’re often pretty good at showing unconditional love towards our kids, but towards ourselves and toward others… that tends to get way more complicated for most of us! Add in some of the contradictive feedback around love from our parents and others growing up… and that can leave many of us downright confused around how to unconditionally love ourself and others. Unwavering love. Stable love. Love that just is…
Let’s start with traits that often show up with conditional love:
- Set roles
- Set expectations
- Shame and guilt
- Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, grief, etc.
- Anger and resentment
- Beating yourself up when you feel like you’re not enough or not good enough
- Looking for fault in yourself and others
- Pessimism and negativity
- Self-worth and self-value issues
What else would you add here?
On the flipside, unconditional love for self and others often includes:
- Room for imperfection
- Flexibility and the benefit of the doubt
- No set expectations and roles
- Kindness and caring
- A supportive nature
- Compassion for self and others
- Embracing mistakes, learning from them and moving on
- Looking for the good
- Optimism and positive vibes
- Stable self-worth and self-value
What else would you add to the list above?
Self-care for when you’re struggling with conditional love:
- Therapy- individual, couples for family
- Meditation- quiet or guided
- Mindfulness and focusing on your five senses
- Tightening and releasing your muscles
- Spending time with people who love you unconditionally
- Snuggling with your pets who love you unconditionally already
- Journaling about your feelings
- Exercising, moving your body and focusing on what your body can do
- Reading books that help you reconnect with yourself and your inner strengths
- Going outside and focusing on the beauty all around you
What else helps you when you’re struggling with conditional love?
Unconditional love can be hard to find, especially if you were raised with conditional love. Often, if you followed the set “script” in your life you felt loved, but if you veered from that script in any way, you felt unloved or even unlovable. This is often a pattern parents are trying to break and not pass down and repeat with their own kids. If you’re struggling with finding unconditional love, know that you’re not alone. I’m sending lots of compassion your way as you work to change conditional love to unconditional love within you and around you as well!
**The following are joint social media posts for a recent collaboration with Dr. Fidelis Bridget @fidelisbridget