Contributed by: Emily Langtiw, Seashorties Blogger and Social Entrepreneur
Story from: Chicago, USA
To Love Without Condition
The definition of unconditional love is intimacy with no constraints. It is the love that is shown when someone cares about you so deeply that, through their words and actions, regardless of the circumstances. The relationship that a mother has with her children is where this is most commonly depicted, but you can find this in all authentic connections, whether that be friendships or marriage. Conditional love, on the other hand, is situational. It may disappear over time due to geographical distance, change, or conflict.
Let’s face it, we all want to be unconditionally loved and romanced. You see it in all the rom-coms that women watch, and the princess books, and the happily ever after stories. Love transcends boundaries and limitations, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. It’s also the foundation of marriage, and no woman (or man) deserves less than this in their lives. However, not all women have experienced it, let alone believe they deserve it.
I’m here to remind you (and myself) that we all deserve every ounce of authentic love, despite getting involved with the wrong man (or woman), or in spite of your lack of experience in the dating scene.
After exploring my faith more deeply, I learned that love is firmly rooted in faith. If you understand that God is the sole source of love and life, you will have an infinite amount of love to give to others. It’s a gift He’s given you, and He wants you to love without limits. This has transformed my view on how love works.
For years prior, I used to think that if I was not okay, I could not love or be loved the way I desired to be. However, when God came into my story, I realized that unconditional love means that an individual will love me, no matter what kind of day I was having. Instead of keeping myself at the unrealistic standard of always being the best version of myself in order to wholeheartedly love another, I could finally rest in knowing that I am actually not the source of love, yet I can tap into it the endless river.
I did not experience unconditional love prior to last year when I met my very best friend, Sarah. She was present for my most difficult times in college, sheltered me from every storm both literally and emotionally, listened to my thoughts when life was brutal, and if the situation called for it, spoke truth into my life. Day after day, with love and persistence, she molded my character into someone I did not think I could ever become, and I refuse to imagine what life would be like without her genuinely caring for me as a human being. I picture the scene from Hidden Figures when, in the beginning, the student was handed the chalk. The professor believed in the student’s potential when no one else did not, and even if the professor did not see how this would directly benefit herself.
Think about where or if you see this play out in your own life.
After experiencing unconditional love I have learnt of the core characteristics to look for if I want to create more of it in my own life (and I hope they help you too):
- It is rooted in high morals and values. This is why it’s super significant to know what values you stand firm in because you will know what you deserve and be less likely to compromise for someone who does not share the same outlook on life as yourself. Your values dictate the big decisions you make, and you must be able to share them with your significant other, who you will spend the rest of your life with.
- It happens when you unconditionally love yourself. When you are full of love, it’s easier to give and receive it. You especially know this is true about you if it doesn’t bother you to be single. Think of it this way: singleness is a gift. It’s the time to explore what intimacy looks like with God, friends, family, and yourself especially. There is a reason for this season of life, so while you are waiting for the right one to come around, embrace yourself and your gifts. By doing this, you will lessen the likelihood that you’ll deal with a codependent or abusive man.
- It grows over time. Just like an old friend, the more experiences and storms you face with your significant other, the more the authentic the love between the both of you becomes. Think of dating as a process, not a status you sit in. You are constantly testing the waters and getting to know the other person. Like a garden, authentic connections are fostered over time.
- It transcends physical, emotional, and circumstantial limits. You know that you are unconditionally loved if it does not matter the season you are in, the person loves you just the same. Think of the marriage vows “until death do us part”. Loving is a choice that the both of you must make every single day, even if you do not feel that love all 365 days of the year.
- It is surrounded by authentic community. Involving your closest friends and mentors in your relationship will give you clear set of eyes as to whether he is right for you. Because they know you well and want the best for you, they will be present to give you advice when you face conflict, and even judge the person’s character. We all have that friend, or been that friend, who was blindsided by infatuation to the point where they ignored the red flags, so do not be afraid to surround yourself with community when evaluating if someone is a good fit.
Clearing up this confusion is just as important to navigate the dating scene. First and foremost, making virtual connections in the technological age has its harmful consequences. Let’s take, for example, dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder. Charm and beauty are their basis: you merely judge an individual based off the wittiness of their bio and the attractiveness of their profile picture. These are, unfortunately, not stable foundations for authentic intimacy because nothing substantial can develop from them. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting” (Proverbs 31:10). While I know healthy couples who met on Tinder, and it is definitely possible to meet people online, I have found it personally better to meet someone in the communities that I involve myself in in-person.
Finally i’ll say try to not forget that your own limitations will affect how you relate to others. If you think that all the good guys are taken, you will only attract taken guys. If you say out loud to the universe that no man is mature enough for you, you will only attract emotionally immature men. That is, until you think otherwise. For a long time, I only attracted unavailable men because I truly believed there was no one available for me. Instead, I replaced these thoughts with realistic ones, and I am no longer slave to my previous hurtful experiences, nor am I slave to the lies that kept me from intimacy with the best men and I hope you no longer are too.
This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3
First, a big thank you to Emily for sharing her story. I related to her on so many levels and am inspired by her resilience, strength and acceptance. I can’t wait till I celebrate the man you choose but until then I am honored to celebrate YOU today and every day.
Second a big thank YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 356 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!