Wyo4News Switchbacks: Giving the gift of unconditional love

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By Ryan
Wyo4News feature writer

The most expensive gift of all is a gift that everyone must give. If we learn to give this gift, we will always have plenty of it. If we refuse to give it, we will never possess it.

It is a gift that we do not understand. As soon as I mention it, you will think, “Oh yeah, duh.” But, I assure you, we do not fully appreciate what it is or how costly it is. We also struggle much more than we realize in sharing it.

The gift is Unconditional Love.

Allow me to explain. Some of us love the idea of love. Others feel like it is overrated. It depends upon your experience and history. But I assure you, we don’t know very much about unconditional love.

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Love in our society tends toward emotional terms. It often is described as feelings. And, even though love often evokes emotions, it is far more than most realize. I have seen love be tough, and I have seen it comfort. I have seen love smile and cry. Tears, shouts, silence, and even sweat have composed the great love I have had the privilege to witness in my life.

Unconditional Love is a challenge because it promises nothing in return. In order for it to be unconditional, it must not require reciprocation. That is not a strong suit of human beings. Sure, there are loads of people who love the whole world. But, then the people they know and work with, well,  they often don’t care that much for the “world” they actually know. It’s easy to imagine that we have feelings of love for the whole world when we don’t have to endure them every day. The whole world doesn’t cut us off on the way to the store, shout at our children, or let their dogs run all over the neighborhood.

Submitted photo by Ryan

The truth is we don’t do unconditional love. We do conditional love. We need a return on our investment. I love you, but I need you to love me back. If I am kind to you, then I would like it very much if you would be kind to me in return. If you are, then I like you. I may even love you. If you do not reciprocate my expressions of love, I’m going to let you drift on down the way.

It makes sense, really. We have needs, and we have to be honest about them. The problem is that we often use “love” as a way to get others to meet our needs. That isn’t honest. Honesty simply states, “I have a need.” Manipulation never plainly states anything. That isn’t honest, nor is it love.

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So what is unconditional love, and why does it need to top this Christmas gift list?

Unconditional love simply loves people no matter what they do. It is not a feeling; it is a simple and powerful sacrifice. Love gives, serves, listens, and encourages. It does not need to receive the same kindness. This isn’t to say we don’t need those things; it is to say that we get those needs met by communicating them. We don’t get our needs met by unspoken agreements and expectations. 

Imagine your Christmas this year with simple and powerful unconditional love. You would not get upset when someone did not meet your expectations because you wouldn’t have any. You couldn’t get bothered or insulted, either. How? Because you wouldn’t be doing anything to receive something. 

You would be free to love.

Can you imagine being loved without any expectation or pressure to do something? Likely you can’t. That’s what makes this gift so expensive and so necessary. But what if we gave real Love without expectations? It would transform our family and friendships. The possibilities for peace and joy would be endless.

Love,

Ryan

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