By Ryan Dalton
What if we as humans knew what it was to truly love without condition?
We are, of course, not capable because we place conditions on most of our interactions and relationships, whether we purposefully do it or not.
Even those of us who should love the most, and love the best, often look for reasons to withhold that love, whether conscious or not, intentional or absent-minded.
Oh, but to offer love, love that knows no bounds, love that does not know how to stop, waver, or grow weary, love that cannot be swayed, no matter what it receives in return, and no matter what precedes it…true, stubborn, unconditional love.
Many people often say that we, as humans, are inherently selfish, and though this is often validated by the behavior of humanity, I believe humans were made to live in community, sharing life with one another freely, giving of self, and receiving from others; the African ideal of Ubuntu, “I am because you are”.
But many people in Western civilization are not afforded the opportunity to see this life outside of self, and selfishness. We build competitive societies that turn us against each other, making us strive to be better than the other, rather than striving to help better one another.
And like our wealth, that we are told to work hard to make and spend on ourselves, deciding when and how to spend it, we learn to treat our love as a similar commodity; and we are often very greedy with it, using it sparingly, and in ways that serve our selfish desires.
I do think from the bottom of our hearts, we all want to love, and to be loved. I merely think that most of us don’t know how.
Our first failure is believing love is an emotion or a fuzzy feeling. Sure, sometimes a byproduct of love can be these things, but we are fooled in thinking that love is purely emotional.
Another shortcoming of our understanding of love is trying to base it off of our experiences, whether good or bad, pure or evil, loving or abusive. With our dirty filters and bag of burdens, we begin to love others, not the way that we desire to be loved ourselves, but rather in the way we have learned what love is, often warped and misguided.
Sometimes the way we desire to be loved is even warped, and we crave that which is not true love, but abuse others have done to us in the name of “love”.
The fact that we selfishly look at love as an emotion, or that we base the love we are able to offer to others on our own experience, only further complicates the conditions we put on the love we extend to the world around us. But true love is out there, and though we may not be capable of ridding ourselves of all of the conditions we place before the love we offer others, we can try to lessen them, through our understanding of what love is.
Here is what I have learned love to be…
♡ Love is an act, and very much a choice. We choose to give it, and choose to hold it back, occurring both with awareness and sometimes without the knowledge of what we are doing.
♡ Love is selfless, and best when given with nothing to gain.
♡ Love is not always comfortable, and can often be inconvenient, even sacrificial.
♡ Love has no ulterior motive what-so-ever, and is offered with no strings attached.
♡ Love looks to serve the other, with the best interests of the other in mind.
♡ Love celebrates others’ victories, and mourns others’ losses.
♡ Love is uncompromising, and fearless.
♡ Love looks for ways to bring out the very best qualities of its recipient.
♡ Love is not chased away by negative behavior, but seeks out the good within every person, in every moment.
♡ Love sees beyond those individuals considered undesirable, and even goes further by seeing beauty within them.
♡ And love knows not one single condition that would cause or allow it to cease.
Unconditional love is far beyond human conception. It is divine. But imagine how the world would look if we were all dedicated to attempting to see and know true love, and not place conditions on the way we give and receive it.
That would be truly lovely.
Brown is my nickname. I still have to come up with a more interesting story of how I got the name. I like it, but others find it boring.
I am from Tennessee, United States. Cookeville to be exact. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it. I lived in Cape Town, South Africa for ten years, where I worked with “youth at risk”, hung out on the streets, and rapped, amongst other random things.
Right now, I’m living in Brooklyn, NY. East Flatbush to be exact.
I’m a social worker by degree, a retired rapper, a child activist at heart, and a writer for fun. Oh, and now I am a high school teacher. So, that’s random.