Today's article is very close to my heart and I find it touches on very deep parts of the human soul. I especially want to focus on the role of unconditional love in relationships.
I think it gradually stems from previous articles that I have written about relationships and the reasons why we start, we continue or we leave relationships.
In our childhood through experiences and messages from our parents and the environment we learn how the world works, what is good and bad, who we are and we are not, what we need to do, etc. We all have ideas and experiences about what is or is not love based on these accents.
From our childhood we learn, for example, that in order for our parents to love us and us to show our love for them we should do one thing or another, we should behave in a specific manner, we should achieve certain things etc. In that way we essentially learn that there are parts of ourselves that deserve to be loved and others that are not worthy.
If, for example, we do something that our parents do not like, then they can be sad and as we are dependent on them and because we love them we do not want to upset them, so either we stop doing what we want or we do and to some extent we feel guilty about it and begin to hide this guilt somewhere within us.
As we age this relational structure with both ourselves and others (if not overturned) it is consolidated and consciously or unconsciously shapes the way we connect and relate.
Our suppressed parts or needs that were not accepted, do not die but live in our shadow while waiting for an opportunity to come out. A widely known example of this is when people get 'midlife crisis' where, because of the realisations that they are getting older and their life expectancy is not infinite, they come into contact with their repressed parts and want to do and live as they have not lived before but always wanted to.
Adulthood and wholeness are not linear processes occurring from A to B in C as we can always discover parts of ourselves that we did not previously know or realise that issues we thought had been resolved to raise again and shows us another aspect of them that needs to be resolved.
The various relationships we create in the course of our lives reflect every time how we see and experience ourselves and our lives. We form different types of relationships in our 20's, 30's, 50's. Some people, of course, continue to relate in the same way throughout their life, ignoring to a degree the lessons they may have taken from any previous relationship.
Relationships are that mutually constructed place where we can project ourselves, but also experience what we are not, the other. One could say that it is in itself a schizoid situation as in the same space we see ourselves and the other, somewhat like looking at a mirror and seeing our reflection and at the same time seeing through the mirror another face.
In relationships we enter with what we know about ourselves but also with our unconscious parts, those that have been suppressed or have not yet been revealed.
Our partner may like some parts of who we are and some others not, similar to the conditional love we might have got from our parents. We might get into a game that we both feel we need to change in order to be liked by the other resulting in further suppression of other parts of us. Essentially, this leads to isolation and loneliness with both ourselves and the other.
Perhaps also in the dynamics of the relationship we feel comfortable to show some parts that were previously rejected (but we ourselves may also have rejected) expecting that this time may be appreciated and loved by both us and the other.
Many relationships happen and end within this pattern.
But there may be another option, that of unconditional love.
Within it we learn to love the other not for who we would like him to be, but for who he really is and we like him in total, he suits us, he touches us, we want to evolve with him.
Within it we realise why we do not like those parts of the other and how they can remind us of what we do not like about ourselves, thus, illuminating the cave of perpetual rejection and control over the other.
Within it we embrace all the challenges and difficulties of our own and of the other because they are parts (often deeply distorted) of the other and ours even when they oppose our own wants.
Within it the wholeness of the other becomes our own not as two dependants but as two wholes that constantly agree to learn, discover and enjoy each other on a continuous journey of evolution.
Within it the only danger or threat is when one decides that it does not want to evolve anymore or he considers his evolution to be somewhere else.
If we all tried for that kind of love in everything we do in our lives, then our world would be a different place with more creation than destruction.