This will most likely be an unpopular opinion piece. So be it.
I have never believed in the concept of unconditional love. It doesn't sit well with me. It doesn't seem right.
But I've talked to many friends about it, & most view it as the truest, purest form of love.
I still disagree.
I believe that love SHOULD be conditional. You should love someone on the conditions that:
-They love you back.
-They respect you.
-They trust you.
-They are loyal to you.
-They value you.
-They would never do anything to intentionally hurt you.
-They are kind to you.
-They are considerate of your needs & support you.
I feel that these conditions are fair. I feel that they are just. They are equal & reciprocal. They should be amendable.
And I feel that if these simple conditions are unmet, you don't have to love that person.
It seems that many people think you should give love freely. I don't disagree. But if someone won't love me as freely as I love them, I'm not going to waste my time by continuing to love them & give when all they do is take. In my opinion, this is idiotic & self-destructive.
Rather, you should give kindness freely. Kindness can be bestowed upon anyone you meet, a stranger or even an enemy, & it should be. But love, to me, is a more serious investment & a relationship to that person, which does not apply to everyone.
I feel that unconditional love can be used as an excuse to stay stagnant and not change, still expecting others to love you for who you are. But if you can't become a better person, a better version of yourself, continuously improving, then why should anyone go out of their way to love you when they're putting in all of the work and you're putting in nothing? That's one sided.
I do believe you should love someone flaws and all, on both their best day & their worst. You should love the person as a whole, in their entirety. But that does NOT mean unconditionally.
I feel that many people think that loving family is an obligation. (Ever heard the saying "Blood is thicker than water."?) Throughout my life, I have been detached & estranged from my biological mother. People don't understand this. They tell me things like, "You should love your mother!" "How could you not love her!? She gave birth to you! She created you! She raised you!" "How dare you hate your mother!" "You need to forgive her!"
I do not hate my mother. I don't truly hate anyone. Hatred takes energy & negativity that I don't have. I may throw the term "hate" around loosely & jokingly, & I do have a strong dislike for certain things. But no real hatred.
I do forgive her for all of the abuse & neglect she put me through. She is deeply mentally ill, & has been for decades. I don't feel that all of it was conscious or her fault. It's the illness's fault. And I do believe that forgiveness is necessary, but for you, not for the other person. You need to let go of that hurt & move on before it consumes you. You can't heal, make progress in life, or grow until you do. And in terms of my mother, she isn't fully aware of the extent of the pain she caused me. "Forgive them for they know not what they do."
I do acknowledge that she did the best she could with what she had. I grew up poor, with food stamps & section 8 housing. We didn't have much, but she made sure the utilities were always paid & we had food on the table, even if that meant we went to a food bank or church to get it.
So I have empathy for my mother. I understand why she is the way she is. And I'm grateful for the good in her. But I do not love her. I cannot love her.
I cannot love someone who is toxic. I cannot love someone who is abusive & destructive. I cannot love someone who has no regard for others. I cannot love someone who refuses help & support. I cannot love someone who doesn't have love for him/herself.
Instead, I am indifferent towards her & I pity her. And that's just how it is.
She will never change. She is beyond saving. And I've accepted that.
There's no use in trying to love her when it is unsafe for me. When I tried to maintain a relationship with her, it threatened my own sanity, emotional wellbeing, & mental stability.
That is not worth it.
And it makes my heart heavy. It pains me. It fills me with sorrow. I wish I could have a normal mother/daughter relationship with her, but I can't. She is not a healthy person. She refuses to see a Psychiatrist or Therapist, heck, she won't even got to a regular medical doctor! She resists all help & functions as a ticking bomb waiting to go off. It is too dangerous for me to even be around her because she is so explosive, volatile, & completely unpredictable. So I can't risk my own safety by being around her. And my intention isn't to hurt her or make her sad, but protect & preserve myself. And the only way I can do that is by staying away from her. It's an incredibly hard plight that most people don't understand, but it's my life.
Some people are still able to love their abuser. This is known as "Stockholm Syndrome," or in clinical terms, "traumatic bonding." But this is usually a means of survival because they cannot escape the hold of their captor and they are trying their best to cope.
This is not something I possess. I was able to escape, to become my own person, & to leave my abuser behind. And I feel that I am stronger and more resilient because of it. But I am not capable of unconditional love.
Perhaps this is a distinct part of my personality or nature. I have a tendency to detach & disassociate easily from others. I can fall in love with you instantly, but lose that love just as quickly. Maybe I developed this skill as my own survival mechanism to shield myself from harm, or maybe it's an inherent quality. Either way, it's how I interact with others in the world. If our love is mutual, you can remain in my life. If not, I let go, disconnect, & move on.
After reading this, you may view me as a victim of my past or as a creature of circumstance. You may completely disagree with me. And that's okay.
But try to see my point of view.
On the other hand, if you see my side & agree, then begin letting go of unconditional love. It's an outdated, overrated cliché that can be more harmful than helpful. Begin to recognize your value & your worth and implement those conditions into your relationships. Ever since I have, I am surrounded by friends, the family I've chosen, who are healthy & supportive, & they enrich my life rather than try to destroy it.
Thanks for reading. <3