DEVELOPING UNCONDITIONAL, LASTING LOVE
There is a higher degree of love to pursue. Unconditional love is that highest degree of love. Love that is unconditional means it is impossible not to feel love and demonstrate such for another individual. In fact, when someone loves unconditionally that person is not able to display or feel anything but love, regardless of the damaging conduct of another.
Developing Unconditional Love – If love can be rekindled, and it can be, then the reshaping of love should be with lofty goals in mind. Love is an eternal force. Love is essential. Love leads to happiness. In many cases, nothing is more important than love in care giving situations. Talidari said, “Unconditional Love is not the case of being blinded by love but rather the resolution that nothing is more important than love.”
Caregivers are advised to achieve that kind of love, regardless of the circumstances to the contrary. It is as important for the caregiver’s well being as it is for that of the patient. If unconditional love is not currently felt, then it could be worked on. Love, unconditional love, can be developed and increased. Love can grow with time. Love honors effort. For those who feel their love slipping or gone, ‘get back on the horse.’ Try not to be a casualty to your fatigue or struggle. Developing love will improve your struggle, will improve your attitude. What you do and what you are matter. Your unconditional love will certainly matter to your loved one, then it should matter to you.
How To Love Unconditionally – Love can be hard to define. From poets to psychologists to every day people, the endless effort to explain what love is and means beyond “you know it when you feel it” has led to innumerable results. To believe in unconditional love, and to actually love unconditionally, requires a great deal of thought, action and faith. Only you can decide if and how you can (or should) love unconditionally, but the following ten considerations for loving unconditionally may be of assistance:
1. Consider the Types of Love That Exist – Unconditional love means loving another in his or her essence, as he or she is, no matter what he or she does or fails to do. People with ill loved ones should understand this notion best of all.
2. Realize that Unconditional Love Is Not Being “Blinded” By Love – A person who has newly fallen in love with another is often in this state, where he/she does not see the other person’s full reality, faults and all. Such a state of love is (or at least should be) temporary, and needs to be replaced by a longer-term, “eyes wide open” type of love if the love is to last.
3. Consider Whether Romantic Love Can Be Unconditional - Some say no, because romantic love must function conditionally, as a partnership based on feelings, actions, and expectations. In this view, you can never love your spouse in the same unconditional manner as your child. However, love is not the same thing in a caregiving relationship.
4.Love Should Be Given Freely - If you have to do something, or be a certain way, in order to receive love, that love is conditional. If it is given to you freely and without reservation, it is unconditional. Caregivers who volunteer to give loving service, know that best of all.
5. Love Your Self Unconditionally - Unconditional love starts at home, with oneself. You know your own flaws and shortcomings better than anyone else, and better than you can ever know anyone else’s. Being able to love yourself despite this unsurpassable awareness of your own faults puts you in the position to be able to offer the same to your ill loved one.
6. Make the Loving Choice - Always ask yourself, “What is the most loving thing I can do for this particular person in this particular moment?” Love isn't one size fits all; what might be a loving act toward one person could be harmful to another person, in that it doesn't help them get closer to becoming a truly happy human being. It is good advice for both caregiver and patient.
7. Forgive Those You Love - Even if someone doesn't apologize, it's inherantly loving to both them and yourself to let go of your anger and resentment toward them. Keep in mind Piero Ferrucci's advice that forgiving "is not something we do, but something we are." If someone you love says something hurtful in anger, the loving choice is usually to let them know those words hurt you, but also to forgive their indiscretion. Help the patient to grow and yet know that they are still unconditionally loved.
8. Don’t Expect To Shield Someone You Love From All Discomfort and Pain - Part of loving someone is fostering their growth as a person, and pain and discomfort are an inescapable part of growth in this life. Unconditional love means doing what you can to make the other person happy and comfortable, but also helping them grow through their inevitable experiences of discomfort. Discomfort is certainly a condition you and the patient will experience.
9. Love More By “Caring” Less - You want to “care” for a person in the sense that you strive for their well-being and happiness. You don’t want to “care” in the sense that your love is predicated on specific outcomes, which by definition is conditional. You don’t love in return for actions that make you happy; you derive happiness from the act of loving unconditionally.
10. Unconditional Love Is About Acceptance - About not expecting others to make you happy through their choices and how they live. You can’t control others, only yourself. Love means wishing others to be happy. Love is about what we give not what we get. You really don't have to be perfect to love somebody, just be honest. (57)
Real love is the one thing that could make the most difference in the attitude and motivation of caregivers and their loved ones. That kind of love, if constant, can help change the life of another. Love insures that tasks are made lighter, work made not so difficult, and long hours made more manageable. But as previously reported, an increasing number of caregivers are experiencing a reduction or full loss of love because of their care giving. That doesn’t have to include you. Do your part to see that your love is not part of the medical industry collateral damage.