With great love come great burdens, obligations, responsibilities, and duties. This is true for all love, whether it is romantic, filial, extended family, or friends. Unconditional love is not without a cost and that price includes making sure that we conduct ourselves as being worthy of such love.
There are many ways in which we can make sure that we conduct ourselves properly. We can listen more than we speak, we can be mindful of our words, we can be more giving to others, we can be more understanding of others, and more. As I have said before, social media gives a false impression of closeness and unity while actually dividing people through sophisticated psychological methods. It has turned us into a self-righteous, self-absorbed, vane and judgmental species with an almost complete lack of empathy.
If we look around in nature, we can find many examples of unconditional love. Whales, birds, foxes, wolves, otters, seahorses, coyotes, owls, eagles, geese, penguins, monkeys, hawks, and many others, choose mates for life. Most of us don’t have to look farther than to our devoted pets at home to find excellent examples of unconditional love. One reason people are parting ways today, whether through romance or family and friend relationships, is because they have not been taught (or they have forgotten) how to love others unconditionally. This means knowing when to disagree or argue, when to let it rest, and allowing a person to be himself or herself even if it is not in line with who we are. We may shake our heads and roll our eyes, but we love the person in spite of his or her idiosyncrasies. We are devoted to who they are spiritually. This also means having compassion for others and reaching out to help them when they need anything. Life has continuous uncertainty, coupled with an ability to turn a person’s life upside down in a single moment. We need people on whom we can rely and they need our reliability as desperately.
Everyone pays for unconditional love, whether it is a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, or a lover. There is abundant risk in loving someone in any form, as people eventually will be separated for ridiculous, benign reasons or through great tragedy. One way that we can minimize the pain we bring to others is by being dependable. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard and to our promises, as we are nothing if we are not as good as our word. It can be costly to be otherwise.
For example, let us imagine that someone you love asks you to let him or her know when you arrive home so that they are aware that you are safe. You agree but perhaps you get home and your phone battery is dead, you forget, you are just too tired or perhaps there is another reason. This person may try to reach you and stay up all night worried. In today’s world, the lack of dependability is so common that we are never sure when it is appropriate to act. In turn, perhaps you did not arrive home safely and you are in need of help. Is the person going to come looking for you? Not necessarily because the person likely will assume that you forgot, but he or she will still worry about you anyway. Is he or she going to call your boss, call your neighbors, send out a search party or anything else? Not if you consistently fall back on your word. It is important to be as good as your word no matter what you have to do to make it happen, because you could find yourself in a situation where you genuinely need help. It could save your life. It also is not fair to the other person to make him or her worry, but that is one cost of unconditional love.
We put ourselves out there anytime we give or receive love. It is the nature of our existence. It will bring joy and pain. Even so, we must strive to be our very best in order to give of ourselves in our purest form, and to receive the greatest gift life has to offer: Unconditional love.
Let us strive to be the very best version of ourselves.
Danica De La Mora