I’ve been struggling with the concept of unconditional love in platonic relationships. Mostly because I’ve had to come to terms with the actual, legitimate definition of unconditional. (Loving is the easy part. I so dearly love all ya’ll.)
Unconditional (adj): Not subject to or limited by any conditions; absolute :
Therefore ^^, an unconditional relationship is (ONE) non-contingent and (TWO) relatively reciprocal. You cannot say things like, “They’re not helping me through this even though I helped them with something similar a couple of years ago.”
(I mean… you totally can. I legit said this to my dear friend two months ago. And then stormed out of the restaurant like the mature adult I am. But then it’s no longer unconditional. And unconditional is what I’m striving towards.)
N O N – C O N T I N G E N T
It implies appreciation for a human exactly as they are, exactly as they present themselves. You see the flaws, the wrongdoings, the mistakes, misjudgments… and you don’t try to fix them for the sake of the friendship.
What’s especially hard is the corresponding vulnerability required; particularly difficult in this Age Of The Ego we’re in.
And the extent of vulnerability required means forgoing all tactics for self preservation.
(As a general side note: Current society tends to use vulnerability as a way to manipulate; a long instagram post; #nofilter. But it’s intended purpose is to solidify connections. Originally, it was something you could reveal and build upon, thereby creating intimacy. Intimacy used in conjunction with love is this finite resource that strengthens real life relationships. But that too seems to be misused.)
However, unconditional love and vulnerability mean that when a dear friend needs a bit of space, you let them and you love them. It means, when a loved one fails to support you, you love them. And it means, when a sweet soul gets angry with you, you allow them to… and you love them.
(Even just typing up this list makes me extremely uncomfortable. I’ve had to pour a glass of wine to help swallow the reality of it. I’m letting you in on the fact that there are people who need space from me, who are angry with me. And now I fear you’re wondering what’s wrong with me. Or worse, you’re hemming and hawing thinking, mmmm yesss I always knew she was difficult so no surprise there. And now you’ll use this for justification for why you, too, should take some space from me. And now I’ve lost you all. Nope. Already this is too hard. And yet.. )
I suppose the trick is to have enough self-love stockpiled, it allows you to loose a bit here and there when people suck (as they do). Similarly to how you should put on your own oxygen mask before that of a child. However, even without the steady flow of self-love to your brain, even when you feel as though the world is trying to destroy you in a metaphorical plan crash and all you need is for your friend to just come through … and yet… they don’t…well, you still love them. Unconditionally.
R E L A T I V E L Y R E C I P R O C A L
More often than not, I let my ego get in the way of sincere connection. I’m too proud to recklessly allow someone take up room in my life. (I think we all feel this way.) And I’m quick to throw a wall when the going gets tough. (I think we all do this.) I analyze the crap out of everything so if you’re upset with me, I can justify why you feel that way, where we were both coming from, and how I haven’t failed you after all. How we’re really two equals regardless. (I think most don’t care enough to do this.)
But I’m working on it. I’m working on allowing my loved ones to feel exactly how they feel. Because my system of justification is basically just a backwards way for me to demand you love me, even if I’ve wronged you. So I need to do the same in return; but first and foremost. (That was a vernacular calculus equation, I realize. But it’s crucial for the “mutual” portion of the definition. Because how can I expect the “unconditional” from you, if I won’t shed my walls and do it for you?)
You allow them to come back even if they don’t work to re-earn their place. Previously I saw this as an act of weakness…. but I think I’ve changed my mind.
The friend I was so upset with for not supporting me when I needed it, well I realized she brought us all so much joy in a plethora of other ways. She supported me in a manner I wasn’t even capable of. And to place so much value on this one mode of “support” was to devalue the others.
So all in all… I dunno. But these are my transitory conclusions. We shall see where they lead me. Hopefully… more love.
Categories: Musings & Epiphanies, Open Letter
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