Conditional Love

  I was falling into a sleep and reflecting on my day when a thought crossed my mind.  It’s so easy to love someone conditionally and claim unconditional love. I think a lot of people do it. I believe I’ve done it.  It’s a part of the human condition, a flaw of humanity. Let me expand.

You see, through the course of my life, I have come to realize I am a very affectionate person. I need to be loved and I love to love.  I think every human to some extent has the need to be loved.  It’s innate. 

I discussed with a friend last week a theory I have come to terms with.  I need to be alone.  My whole life I have strived to be loved and accepted by those around me. As an extreme extrovert, these experiences brought me joy and energy. The downfall is when I came to be alone, I crashed. Anxiety driven loneliness consumed me to extremes. That’s why these past few months, I have slowly withdrawn myself from too much of a social life. I’d still maintain one, but I cut back drastically.  I was learning to be content while alone.  It has been hard, but it has also taught me some extremely valuable things about humans.

When I stopped reaching out to people I realized several realities. One was that if I didn’t reach out, I would never talk to some people.  I was the only one working to keep the friendship alive.  I do understand that if they got used to me initiating then I suddenly stop, there is a chance they thought I didn’t want to talk to them.  So I haven’t blamed anyone, but I did find it a fascinating observation.  I wondered how many of them did want to keep our friendship alive and how many actually cared.

The next group of people there were, are those whom did reach out to me occasionally, so I also reached out occasionally in return.  The interesting thing about this group is how few people there actually are in it.  Most of these people I have had good relationships with and have been able to work through things with. This small group I would say a my core group of people.  

The third group are those that I never initiated contact with and they continually contacted me.  This group is even smaller than the latter. There are two things I have drawn from this group. These people love me. Unconditionally love me.  It shows in all they do.  Also, another strange observation, the people in this group, they were people I never would have counted as a friend until they reached out.

So what does this all mean? Well, I want to make it clear that people in all the groups could very much love me unconditionally. I would never discredit that.  I love (or try to love) many of them as best as I humanly can.  I did start to wonder however if it’s possibly for a human being to love unconditionally.  I feel as if a lot of love is extremely selfish. If like to believe I love my parents unconditionally, but if (God forbid) they cut me off and out of there lives completely, would I still love them? Or is my love for them conditional in the fact that I expect love back. Now, that is a very extreme example, but I believe it could be applied in many situations.

Okay, so the past few days have been good, yet extreamly hard at the same time.  I’m finding myself skeptical of people. Yesterday evening was difficult.  Thankfully I was able to stay at my parents house.  I did end up hurting myself for the first time in months, however. All because I could not believe I could be loved. No matter what I did or how much I failed, could I be accepted for who I am?

Today, we had a BSMS reunion. It was great to see so many familiar faces. It brought me a lot of joy, and at the same time, I had to retell the story that I still hold bitterly in my heart of my dismissal from the school.  I’m have healed a lot since it initially happened, but I still hurt.

After, I was able to see an amazing man.  This man is very broken.  He has quickly become someone a care about an awful lot. You see, this is my friend who just got out of the hospital after a heroin overdose and dance with death.  I really want to share some of our conversation…

He and I are similar.  We both have gone through similar experiences, suicide attempts, and bouts of depression.  He is not a religious person. He told me his soul is dead. This person, needs someone to love them. Unconditionally love them. I know that God is the only one that can do that for him right now. I told him some of my testimony and struggles with God. As he listened respectfully, I saw a shift in his mannerisms.  His natural laid back posture turned tense.  As I finished I asked him what he was thinking. This was his reponse, “You don’t know how much I wish I had that. I don’t even wish I had a solid belief in something, but even something to wrestle with, like you have. I want to. I want to have hope, but I can’t.” He did explain more as to why he can’t believe I’m anything, but I don’t feel qualified to share.  Anyway, after our conversation on religion, I must have looked visibly upset. I was pretty emotional because of what he had shared… Anyway, when he saw my face he looked at me and said, “Hey, I know I’m not a good person. I know that I probably make your life so much harder and you don’t deserve that.  I also know I’m not like any of your other friends, but you make my world a better place. I can tell you genuinely care when very few people do.” I then told him about every one of you who prayed for him and his stone cold face almost teared up.

That’s when I realized. Loveing someone is hard. Very hard. I also believe you can’t do it alone.  I could not love him well without all of my friends support.  And they probably couldn’t love me without their friends, and so fourth. So yeah, maybe love is conditional.. It’s conditional on someone loving you first.  That cycle of love has to end somewhere… Unless someone does truly love unconditionally.. Which someone does.. The Creator, Savior, Father, Friend.

As he left, he leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered, “Please never ever try to take your life again, because your life is going to save so many.”

Needless to say, I cried.  Maybe this pain is purposeful. Maybe, just maybe, this world of conditional love has taught me who Unconditional Love is. And maybe, he’s showing me how to show it and receive it.

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