Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reflections on the Nature of Unconditional Love

We use and consume goods.  We dispose of objects when their usefulness is obsolete and replace them with the latest and the newest.  

In our throwaway society have we come to view people as disposable as well?  Are relationships becoming more about having the newest and the best and less about understanding and caring?

Practicing unconditional love and accepting all aspects of family or friends requires that we reject the media version of only accepting and appreciating the perfect. People are not perfect.  Their character is the result of all the turmoil they have survived in their lives.  The scars they have overcome mold them into the person you see.

The media is forever showering us images that to be “loveable” one must be perfectly dressed and coifed and made up etc.  Is it any wonder that so many today reject people based on their unlovable characteristics?  There seems to be an epidemic of casting aside the imperfect.  Life leaves scars on our psyche.  Are we discarding relationships because empathy would require us to embrace those imperfections and scars?

“All you have to do is revise your point of view. Instead of trying to achieve perfection, simply relax and enjoy human imperfectability. … You see man as infinite possibility always in the process of becoming.”
~ Robert H. Rimmer, That Girl from Boston

It is easy to love the lovable. 

It takes compassion and empathy to love the not so lovable traits.  A person is molded by the experiences they have had.  The positive experiences as well as the negative leave a trace upon their character and shape the way they see and respond to the stresses of life. 

Mature love accepts the good as well as the not so good aspects of a cherished person.  To accept another person’s weakness does not lessen us as person but rather, elevates us.

“Compassion crowns the soul with its truest victory.
~ Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams

It is easy to pass judgments based on outer images. Our biases will cloud these images for, as with the iceberg, there is so much more to know about a person that what at first appears. There are depths to a person’s character that we may never know.  The events of their past that shaped them are a mystery to us.  Empathy does not imply understanding nor agreement, but rather acceptance of the unknown.

“Close both eyes see with the other one. Then we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments our ceaseless withholding our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened and we find ourselves quite unexpectedly in a new expansive location in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love.”
~ Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

To unconditionally love a person requires the maturity to accept those weaknesses and scars that are left behind by events that shaped the person that you see and interact with. Rejecting a person based on their inability to perform to your standards punishes them for the hurts they have had to already endure to become the person they are.   

“Love is without a doubt the laziest theory for the meaning of life, but when it actually comes a time to do it we find just enough energy to over-complicate life again. Any devil can love, whom he himself sees as, a good person who has treated him well, but to love also the polar opposite is what separates love from fickle emotions.
~ Criss Jami, Venus in Arms
Occasionally, we need to take stock of the nature of our relationships and ponder the quality of love we show those we say we love. Are we falling prey to the throwaway society of loving only the newest and the best?  Or are we cherishing the well-worn and frayed, sometimes tattered personalities that deserve our unconditional love.

Renate Dundys Marrello

last edited on 2017 - 02 - 23 
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