One of the most highly-esteemed measures of success beyond career satisfaction, material possessions, financial security, a solid reputation, long life, and good health is a happy relationship.
As a matter of fact, the majorities of scandals in public life involve relationship issues ranging from infidelity, domestic violence, and workplace romance vis-a-vis professional ethics to suspicion of strained relationships and perceived cracks in relationships due to things as seemingly unimportant as social media activity.
The gossip mill is, therefore, always rolling and cooking up conspiracy theories that are readily lapped up by the unwitting public.
Curiously, a happy relationship is a crucial determining factor in the level of acceptance and relatability an individual gets, and a failed relationship is seen as a dent in an individual’s profile, especially in political office hopefuls, as it portrays responsibility.
Even at that, ‘unconditional love and ‘happy relationships’ are seen as myths and society generally respects and appreciates the ability of individuals to ‘keep it together in the face of challenges they may be faced with when it comes to relationships.
Some people believe that all forms of love are transactional and that all forms of love depend on one precondition or the other. They link the love a mother has for her child to parenthood, the love shared between romantic partners to be due to their desirable attributes and features and the love shared between siblings and childhood friends to be due to common heritage, upbringing, and so on.
Without these undertones, love is believed to be non-existent or, at best, feigned.
What, then, is unconditional love? It is selfless devotion to and affection for a person that has no demands or requirements of the loved individual.
There is no select individual or group that embodies this feeling but it can be exhibited by anyone who has it in them to demonstrate such affection to others and is willing to do so.
Features of Unconditional Love
1. It Brings Security
It is reassuring to find that one is loved by friends and family regardless of what one does or does not do and this eliminates the need for pretense or falsehood.
It also removes pressure and anxiety as the said individual knows that whatever outcomes he/she gets will not negate or change the way his or her loved ones feel.
In the case of romantic relationships, it certainly helps to know that physical decline or a change in fortunes for the worse will not change the way one’s partner feels about them.
2. It is Selfless
Altruism is an attribute of unconditional love. Altruism refers to acts of benevolence that are done with the intention of supporting and helping others without expecting anything in return, often to the benefit of the recipient and the detriment of the giver.
It begs the question as to whether or not happy relationships are healthy relationships because unconditional love- which leads to happy relationships- is usually one-sided and may be termed, ‘unhealthy’.
3. It is Emotionally Beneficial
Scientific studies have shown that there is positive feedback in the brain as a result of feelings of unconditional love that are given, with similarities shared with certain aspects of romantic love.
In the same vein, recipients of unconditional love are better served by these actions because advances in science have shown that parenting styles that demonstrate unconditional love usually translates to rich, long lives for the kids in question and foster their emotional well-being, insulating them from toxicity, trauma and emotional abuse.
4. It Guarantees Acceptance and Full Forgiveness
One of the terms of unconditional love is full forgiveness, regardless of the offense, before it is even conceived, not to talk of carrying out. It is based on the assumption that mistakes are a given in human interaction and that regardless of the errors in judgment that might be the case as a result of the individual’s actions, forgiveness is granted perfunctorily.
Even in the face of the possibility of no improvement or positive change, acceptance lies in unconditional love by respecting the fact that things will very likely not change, protecting one’s mental health, and loving, anyway.
Common Misconceptions about Unconditional Love
Unconditional love is often mistaken for a toxic relationship with romantic interests. In the latter, harmful actions are condoned and tolerated to no end. Unconditional love and unconditional access are also mutually exclusive, that is, loving unconditionally does not require you to always provide the said person with your time and attention.
As a matter of fact, you can shut down all communication channels as you so desire.
Here are some points that illustrate what unconditional love is NOT:
1. Tolerating Abuse
A primal instinct of man is that of safety. If you, thus, choose to quiet the flight instinct in you at the sniff of long-term danger that is beyond you on the account of ‘unconditional love, then you have only yourself to blame.
Harmful incidents are hardly ever isolated and are usually the result of numbed or ignored signs that point to impending danger. As such, tendencies that are potentially harmful and beyond the power of the lover to redeem should be duly addressed by immediate disentanglement with the said individual and then, forgiveness can subsequently be granted.
Thus, abuse- either physically or emotionally- should automatically lead to the end of any such relationship.
2. Forfeiture of Your Own Needs
While unconditional love is largely sacrificial, it should never come at the expense of your own needs. More often than not, unconditional love furnishes recipients with all of their needs which, oftentimes, may lead to the giver being spent and drained, with no means of servicing their own needs or replenishing their own ‘tanks’ of goodwill and love.
3. Ignoring Relationship Issues
There are certain deal-breakers in relationships and boundaries which, upon violation, can no longer be restored. In cases such as this where conflict is brewing as a result of differences in priority or irreconcilable differences, it is safest to not overlook the challenges but address them appropriately and if the relationship has hit the rocks, it is better to move on because of ‘sooner death, than indignation’.
Thus, it has been demonstrated that unconditional love is a secret to a happy relationship, at least for one of the partners.