Conditional Love

We all look to those who have come before us to determine where certain character traits we possess have come from. Much of who we are is of course due to environment, life circumstances and other external factors and then there are genetic characteristics that may or may not play heavily on our personalities. Regardless, everyone looks to those all important genetic connections. Think about how often you hear things like “You have a talent for painting just like aunt so and so” “You have your grandfather’s stubborn streak” and so on. I used to be compared to my grandmother all the time.

“She loved flowers and gardening and had a fire in her spirit just like you”.

I remember wondering as a child how that was possible that I had inherited anything at all from a woman whom I never met and who has no genetic ties to me what so ever. I think maybe it’s just another case of society trying to invent natural connections to mask an unnatural circumstance. It matters not that these connections are a scientific impossibility we are expected to embrace them and play the game. Is it any wonder so many of us end up having a total identity crisis and then find ourselves obsessed with searching in adulthood? I truly believe it is connection to and understanding of who we are in it’s entirety that we search for. I think people tend to make our desire to search a bit more shallow than it really is.

At the end of the day maybe where many of our character traits come from really doesn’t matter too much. We are who we are and much of who we are probably IS shaped by life experience but who can blame us for wondering? A strong sense of Self takes work. You aren’t born with it. I just think the road to self discovery is probably much easier if you are blessed with two very important factors: good teachers and R.O.O.T.S..

There is one characteristic that baffles me. Something that due to my personal experience I find an unlikely trait to be either genetic or environmental and that is unconditional love. I have never been taught and have rarely been shown or received unconditional love. On the other hand I love deeply, passionately and with an unmeasured amount of compassion. It seems unreasonable to assume this is something I learned along the way because with the exception of a scant few I have experienced nothing but conditional love. My mom loves me but there are rules. I must play the narcissist game to receive her love. My natural mother could only love me if I remained a secret so I have to love her from afar. I have friends for which I can only be loved from afar as well because I make others in their lives “uncomfortable” for whatever reason. Maybe it’s my beliefs, maybe it’s something more shallow but whatever the reason virtual strangers have deemed me unworthy even though they don’t know the first thing about me. Think about how many adoptees face anger and resentment by their adoptive parents when they decide to search. Nothing screams conditional love more than that. So many conditions are placed on adoptees but I think conditional love is the most damaging.

It appears to be a pattern. Someone has a long list of conditions to their love and they most certainly pass that lesson on to their children….who will most likely learn to love the same way. So if conditional love is taught it would make sense that the opposite…… unconditional love… is taught as well. EXCEPT, where in the world did I learn it?! No, that can’t be it. There has to be something deeper that makes a person have the strength, the courage to love unconditionally. A strong sense of Self MUST play into it somewhere. This is who I am. I love myself as I am so I can certainly love you as you are without exception. You don’t have to DO anything or SAY anything or BE anything specific for me to love you.
I guess the origins of unconditional love may just remain a mystery and mystery is certainly something adoptees learn to live with every single day. Regardless of how we come about it though here’s the truth of the matter; we may have no choice about being loved conditionally but offering conditional love is NOT something we have to live with.

The way I look at it is it’s the one thing that can’t be taken from me. Regardless of how this aspect of my personality came about, whether it be self taught, genetic, environmental…it doesn’t really matter. It is the ONE part of who I am that can’t be explained away under false pretense. It cannot be hidden in the closet of shame or shrouded in secrecy. It cannot be forced into oblivion like all of those unknowns we face. Oh hell no.

If I want to love you I WILL and it is impossible for you to place conditions on THAT!



Filed under Truthful Musings

8 responses to “Conditional Love

  1. Fantastic post, Mia. I shared it in my google reader!

  2. Thank you Dawn! I don’t know what a google reader is but I bet it’s pretty cool. After two years it seems like I should know my way around the blogging world a little better than I do huh? lol
    Have a great day!!!

  3. Carol

    I think being able to give unconditional love is an untouched personality trait. It’s part of you- no matter how that happens…..whether by example or genes…..
    It is strength, and that, is something you always have had, and will always have. Some people have just “got it”.

  4. I think you are right Carol. And I think if there is such a thing maybe it’s something we learn over the course of many lifetimes?

    OK I officially scared off a few people there didn’t I? lol

  5. You didn’t scare me off… I think maybe it is something that we learn over many lifetimes… I’m only 20 and I believe I have the ability to love people unconditionally, when so many others don’t or wouldn’t… and I certainly didn’t learn that ability in this lifetime, or at least don’t think I did.

    More than that though I believe we’re born with an essence and the capacity to love unconditionally is a part of that and remains there always, even if this becomes buried by dysfunctional personality characteristics, through injustices like adoption… but also through life, seeing as we live with other human beings who have all developed dysfunctional personality characteristics.

    Jane :).

  6. I meant “buried by dysfunctional personality characteristics, DEVELOPED through injustices like adoption

  7. mia

    Being in touch with your ability to choose unconditional love at the age of 20 puts you WAY ahead of the game Janeellen. That’s a real blessing.

    If “many lives” exists it seems logical that those who have worked on certain lessons more in depth in past lives would have an easier time recalling that information in this lifetime. Or maybe it has to do with the nature of the lessons we are here to learn (as you suggest) this time around. If we are faced with more challenging lessons it could work for or against our ability to recall certain natural states of being. I’m sure there are many factors involved but it sure is fun to think about. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Lily

    Interesting piece. However, I need to add that my religion, Roman Catholicism, teaches that Jesus offers unconditional love. There is much literature on this matter. People are taught unconditional love based on the actions/behaviours of Jesus.

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