to love without limits
to say that I am fascinated by loving unconditionally and completely would be a bit of an understatement. this is also not an attitude that I reserve for one or two people in my life, this is the attitude that I want to and try to take with all of the people that I meet through the course of a day. now of course being a simple human being I don’t usually meet this goal, often failing spectacularly (which of course is at the expense of others as there is no other way to fail at loving). the reason I continue to believe that this is the way I really want to be though is because of the times when I do succeed. those moments when you can truly care for someone with a consuming passion regardless of what they do or say, is a truly spectacular feeling.
now there are some that would suggest to me that you can’t really love unconditionally and I would agree with them but with the qualification of “unless you are working at it.” if you even stop working at it for a moment things like jealousy and selfish desires will creep back into your mind and muddy everything up. I think the best advice I have ever heard on the matter of how to love people came specifically talking about romantic relationships but can be applied anywhere. I read it in Donald Miller’s newest book and here is the quote, “she had married a guy, and he was just a guy. He wasn’t going to make all her problems go away, because he was just a guy. And that freed her to really love him as a guy, not as an ultimate problem solver. And her husband believed she was just a girl, he was free to love her too.” too often we try to push our problems off to others in hopes that they will solve them, whether in a romantic relationship or any other relationship we form. generally we don’t decide that someone will be our problem solver until we decide to engage with them and lower our guard to love them. the connection between these two decisions creates an unsustainable dependence on the problem solving nature.
one of the most natural reasons we avoid this kind of engagement with the people we meet is that there are risks associated with loving deeply. there is pain and heartbreak that many people know well when the person fails to live up to our expectations of them. for some the idea of even opening up to one person is a terrifying ordeal simple for the fear of being hurt or rejected. recently I said on the internet “to agree to love is to agree to have your heart continuously broken.” I can honestly say that nothing I have ever said has generated so much discussion before. it was a statement that had come out of a lot of thought about the idea of having your heart broken and why it happens. I will say that I meant it in a beautiful fabulous way and didn’t even notice how depressing or cynical it sounds.
I have come to have a great appreciation for heartbreak in the last couple weeks. while in no way do I mean to belittle that pain of it all or suggest that it should be easy to deal with if you aren’t weak, those are not the aspects of heartbreak that I am going to dwell on. those aspects suck a lot but there is a lot to be said in a positive light about heartbreak that generally goes unsaid. if there really was nothing positive about it then I don’t think anyone would ever take a risk that involved heartbreak. even the chance of a life long partner who loves you completely wouldn’t be enough to risk something that is only negative.
so what about heartbreak is good then? well it is a place in life where you have absolutely no use for the masks or performances that you use daily when meeting people. your emotions and thoughts are so close to the surface that just about anything can set you off. it is this closeness that makes this state of being the perfect place to change. now no one really likes change but then again deep down very few people are happy with who they are and they crave change. normally change is really hard to affect and to handle because it is pushing you out of your comfort zone, however when you are already so far outside of a comfort zone – completely broken and open – change just seems like a good idea. so this process of heartbreak is really just a process of transformation where we can learn about ourselves and open ourselves to being a better person.
I believe there is great value and power in just accepting people for exactly who they are and providing them with a love that, as far as they can tell, they have done nothing to earn or deserve. I think it is something that can be painful or beautiful, often both at the same time. it really isn’t something that can be ignored though.