Unconditional Love (was Love and Respect)


ALERT (and thank you, Leah Rose!)

I deleted a post with two typos and this is the same post with an intro and those typos repaired. Because no one responded, it was a problem to delete the first one.

If you read the other one, there were two times I wrote “conditional” instead of “unconditional” and that changes too much. :-)

Lori Odhner wrote:

-=-The phrase Unconditional Love has been around for awhile. Some people hold it as the true litmus test of a relationship.

"You say you love me, but do you love me no matter what??”-=-

The concept of unconditional love is NOT new. It’s useful. It can also be abused. Part of Lori’s article (if you didn’t read it, check your e-mail or click “Messages in this topic” at the bottom of the mail) suggests that women want to act however they want to and still be loved, while not loving their partners in the way the partners need to be loved (which is to be respected).

So that’s partly a different topic, but not wholly.

Compared to conditional love, which some families have—where kids are controlled by withdrawal or rejection—the idea of unconditional love sounds sweet. But if it’s taken too far into fantasy and used as a slogan to then bully others, the bullying remains.

So if you’re thinking of “unconditional love” as an ideal, go easy on the idea that anyone will “have to” love you, or that you “deserve” to be loved, because that can lead to an ugly place. Even love involves trust and respect after a while.

You should probably love an infant unconditionally.

It’s pretty well known that treating a thieving drug addict or an abusive alcoholic as well as if he were not ruining his own life and others is called can lead to “enabling” in which one becomes an accomplice.

Somewhere in and amongst all that is probably where the idea started, in the 1950’s, with Carl Rogers’ phrase “unconditional positive regard.”
If you’re a big fan of “unconditional love,” consider backing it back to “unconditional positive regard” to help clarify and ground you for the real world.


Also, try to respect your male partner if you have one. He’s probably doing some good for you even if it seems like he’s not giving you unconditional love. And the difference between “love” and “respect” is about language anyway. Try to be lovable AND respectable, whether or not you have a partner or an audience, because it makes you a better person. Try to be trustworthy and dependable.

Being a better person will make you a better parent.

“Deserve” is a problem.


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