Last Updated: January 28th, 2018
The mind’s idea of an unconditional loving self
Within the mind, the idea of an unconditionally loving self is an ideal self: a perfectly formed, living and breathing person who’s completely accepting of what is, of himself, of others and of the world; full of unconditional love, acceptance and benevolence, completely in the flow of life and at one with all.
The unconditional loving self doesn’t distinguish between right and wrong, and has no concept of backwards or forwards. She’s always in the moment, meeting everyone and everything with understanding and compassion. She sees the other as herself; as a deeper, universal self.
She explains, “What’s here in me is in you and what I see in you is in me.” There’s no judgement or criticism, and no anger, anxiety, depression or hate—just neutrality, which manifests as unconditional love, acceptance and internal peaceful bliss. The outside can’t touch the inside, as the inside is made up of indestructible purity, untapped clarity and wisdom that touch and change the outside.
Virtually impossible to live up to
We’re led to believe that this ideal is available to all, including you and me. So sooner or later, many of us who are interested in spirituality try to become that, and mostly fail. We might end up lying to ourselves as we deny our human way of being human. We become confused and frustrated. Like a toddler learning to walk, we think we can do it—until we can’t.
At times, during my previous efforts to be unconditionally loving, I could be so available, understanding and giving that I forgot all about me, or neglected those that I held dearest and closest. My efforts would never last, so I don’t do that anymore. I no longer try to be unconditionally loving, yet ironically find that I’m more understanding, accepting and giving towards myself and others than I was previously.
Life—not the individual—is unconditional
Trying to be unconditional doesn’t work because it’s life that’s unconditional, not the individual. We live in the unconditional, and this allows us the freedom to create conditions. Humanity, as it goes along, has always created collective cultural and societal norms, and as individuals, we impose specific conditions on ourselves and others all the time.
Nevertheless, at our core, at our heart and soul, we’re all unconditional beings. There are no stable psychological conditions besides those we create, imagine and impose onto ourselves as we try to realize our idea of unconditional love. Ironically, it’s because we’re unconditional beings in the first place that we’re able to create the conditions for our idea of unconditional love—and then act as if that were really possible.
Really, we can only be unconditionally loving or unconditionally accepting if and when we have no interest or desire to be any different from how we are (or for others to be any different from how they are). Otherwise, as soon as we try to be different from who we are, we immediately become conditional.
No matter how hard you try, you’re never going to live up to your idea of unconditional love. Can’t you see that trying to be your ideal self is, in fact, a non-acceptance of yourself and all your imagined imperfections; in other words, of yourself as you are?
Another route is possible
If you were able to completely accept yourself as you are, you’d no longer have the desire to become unconditionally loving, accepting or giving. True unconditional love is about acceptance of ourselves exactly as we are (and others as they are), right now, with no desire to change or to be any more or less than we are.
The key or secret to becoming unconditionally loving is to accept that you’re not—and then, miraculously, you are, but not in the way you imagined, and only for now, in this moment.
As I reflect, I can see that in this moment, I can accept myself as I am. I can also accept that I’m not the unconditionally loving person I originally wanted to be. The acceptance of what we are and what we’re not is unconditional love.
So there it is—the key or secret to becoming unconditionally loving is to accept that you’re not—and then, miraculously, you are, but not in the way you imagined, and only for now, in this moment.
Sometimes we confuse ourselves and act as though unconditional love is unconditional giving, so in our efforts to be unconditionally loving, we give and give right up until the moment resentment, frustration and anger kick in, and we can suppress these painful emotions no more. But true unconditional love isn’t unconditional giving. It’s unconditional acceptance of our imagined imperfect selves, of the things within ourselves and others that we dislike and judge as unacceptable.
When we see that life itself is unconditional love, we don’t have to act out our ideal of a unconditionally loving individual anymore. We can allow ourselves to be our natural selves, and from there we can see if we’re able to love, care and help. If it happens to pan out that way, then we experience ourselves that way.
To unconditionally forgive yourself for your failure to be unconditionally loving, accepting and giving is, in itself, an act of unconditional loving acceptance of what is.
When you can see what you’re not, you then see what you are. At your core, you’re an unconditional being. Right now, in an instant, you can go from trying to be what you think you’re not, to not trying to be that. This is about letting go. When you let go and stop trying, you’re then free to “be”— to be what you already are.
Unconditional love is bigger than we are
In the now of the present moment, there seems to be an unconditional love that’s bigger than us. It’s one with me, and made of you. I feel or sense that, somehow, I’ve always been within this unconditional love that has always held me. It has always been here, ordinarily familiar, yet often unnoticed. All of us are made of this stuff, as it can’t be with one and not the other.
We’re “in” love, an unconditional love where anything goes. Love is life, and life is unconditional love, allowing all to be the way it is. We made it and are made of it. We were born in it, we live our lives in it and we’ll die in it.
You’re unconditional love, expressed as you, and there’s nothing you need do to become that. You don’t need to earn it or prove it or show it off. So no matter what you think, believe, feel and do, you’ll remain within a love that’s unconditional, and that’s who you are.
You’re already that. You made it. You’ve arrived. You’re here.