We all know that one person that would be so awesome if…
- She was more thoughtful
- She stopped drinking
- She didn’t complain so much
- She got a better job
- She got A job
- A million other possible changes…
You may even be one of those people. You may even have a quality or behavior (or many) that others say, “If only…”
Here’s the problem with the “if only…”. We are hanging our love on a hook that may not exist. We are offering our unconditional love “when” someone does the thing (or things) we want. How many times has an overweight woman heard, “Oh, you’d be so beautiful if you’d just lose weight.” Or how many times has a functioning alcoholic heard, “You’d be so much more successful if you’d just dry out.”
My guess is that all of us have heard something like this about ourselves and my guess is also that all of us have said something like this about someone else, whether it was to their face or just in our heads. None of us are perfect and none of us move through life without judgements (both making and being the one being judged).
When we think like this, our love immediately becomes conditional. And the person is well aware of the fact that “if only (xyz) would change, I would be loved even more.” How does it feel to know this? How does it feel to know that someone would love you more if only…
It feels like garbage. Conditional love is barely love at all. And if you ask the recipient of conditional love, they will likely tell you it would be better to have no love from that person than the kind of love that they know hinges upon something else.
We, as people, need to work on accepting others for who they are TODAY and not who we want them to be in the future. The reason for this is simple. Who they are today is, well, who they ARE. There is no guarantee about tomorrow. So if we can’t love someone for who they are today, exactly as they are today, then we don’t really love them. We love an idea of who we think they can become. And that’s just not the same.
So practice loving someone as they are today. Sure, you may see things about them and/or their patterns of behavior that irk you or that you know does not serve them well, but practice looking past those and seeing who the person really is. See who their core being is, who is in their heart. Love that person, the REAL person.
Because everyone deserves to both give and receive unconditional love. You, yes YOU deserve this too!
Ps. I love you as you are today!