Trapped in Conditional Love

While we would never want to admit it, conditional love is very much the predominant expression of love in the world today. It is something we have accepted as close enough to love and therefore we have begun to accept, and even expect, this type of love time and time again.

So what is conditional love?

Conditional love has many layers and many forms, all of them designed to show the world just enough of our true self (our essence) so we don’t appear soulless, but not enough that other people might freak out, run away or point and say, ”You’re different,” “We don’t like you” etc.

Conditional love is the voice that says, “Don’t shine quite so bright, don’t say what you actually feel, don’t step on toes.” It is also the voice that says, “You’re better to wallow in your woes, because when you wallow, others leave you alone or give you attention and sympathy.”

As a past master wallower, I can say that people are not at all threatened by wallowing; in fact they seem reassured by it, confirmed by it in some way.

As a student returning to living from my essence, I can say without question that we stand in front of each other with an essence inside of us that is delicious. This is the feeling that people crave most. It can be uncomfortable to feel because it reminds us that we are so much more than flesh and bone. However, it is delicious and it is our everything. It is made of love, joy and harmony and, said with respect, it is the answer to any woe, issue, concern or problem we have in life.

However, it is not there automatically, it is there by our choices. Much like trying to fill a container with water that is already filled with sand, if the container is already filled with something else, it can’t fit as much water. It is the same for our essence: the more we fill ourselves with conditional love, the more the essence can’t get in. Thus it is our own free will, our choices that determine how much of this love we fill ourselves with and allow others to see.

So this essence sits unexpressed and unaffected by life’s ups and downs, while we continue to calculate how much we need to protect it from the world.

The catch is, it is love, which means it is there for all equally, which means to hide it from others, you are also hiding it from yourself.

This is key…

  • We have this essence that is unaffected by the world but we try to protect it from the world, i.e. we are protecting something that doesn’t need protection.
  • We have this essence that we crave very, very deeply, but because we try to protect something that doesn’t need protection, we cut off our own ability to connect to it.

Sure, we have all had life experiences that tell us the world is not safe and have had people in our lives espouse love but deliver nothing short of evil, so I’m not criticising the desire to protect ourselves. I am simply pointing out that we protect something that doesn’t need protection and, in doing so, prevent ourselves from feeling the very thing we crave more than anything else.

And so we choose to be trapped in a conditional love, which typically means:

  • I will connect more to me, as long as people around me are a certain way
  • I will be honest with you, if you promise not to react or disagree
  • I will be caring towards myself once I get past this project/issue etc.

Basically we are saying, “I will only be happy when the surrounding circumstances equals the conditions I set.” … This is conditional love.

BUT, and here is the true manipulation of conditional love, if and when those conditions are met, we quickly re-write the rules. All of a sudden, the behaviour you ask for from others is no longer enough to express yourself in full, or the week where you’re feeling on top of the world, you start looking for the downside.

We seem to be forever placing the thing we crave most just out of reach.

And so, like a child who has dropped their favourite toy, we either throw a tantrum, insisting someone else pick it up, or stand there crying, waiting for the sympathy that will come.

My name is Joel and I am a recovering wallower, learning to share his toys.

By Joel Levin, Western Australia

Related Reading:
Love | Unimedpedia
True Love – I Found my Own Way
Opening up to People – Letting True Love Flow
Being Loved to Be Love

1,568 thoughts on “Trapped in Conditional Love

  1. This morning I came back to this blog, not really expecting to but found myself wanting to understand the essence of true love. I was struck by our desire to get it – just as I have come back with my desire to understand it, yet when we get it, we re-write the rule book to continue the search. There is a livingness in love that needs to be felt to be understood. It is our essence, it is our all so in fact needs no search outside whatsoever. Sinking back into our bodies, a delicateness of touch inspired by butterflies and the generosity and order of nature, observing and feeling, in connection with ourselves and others.

  2. These are great examples of conditional love Joel, ‘I will be honest with you, if you promise not to react or disagree, I will be caring towards myself once I get past this project/issue etc.’ I can feel how I can do these rather than always being open and honest and caring, it is beautiful to get a feel for what true love is and is not, thank you.

  3. What if we do not support wallowing and emotions by supporting ourselves and each other with a deeper way to live? When I was supported by such a reflection of love from another, I know I have also chosen to live this reflection as thus.

  4. I have no judgement in conditional love, we have all embraced its control not knowing there is anything else. I deeply appreciate the commitment I once gave to emotional love, as without the depth of this commitment and its consequential devastation, I would not have made the choice to truly return to self-love.

  5. I know what you have said here to be true Joel
    “We have this essence that is unaffected by the world but we try to protect it from the world, i.e. we are protecting something that doesn’t need protection.”
    I remember feeling as a child that I needed to protect something that I felt was under threat by the way my family was reacting to me. I remember as an adult telling the psychiatrist I saw for many years that I had forgotten where I had put this part of me, as I didn’t feel I could tap into it anymore. And it wasn’t until I came across Serge Benhayon that I have come to the realisation that our essence is always there I have not been connecting to it, that the connection is within me and never outside. And I feel that’s the trick we think we have to go in search of ourselves when actually we are everything all ready, we just have forgotten this.

  6. Great blog – exposing the many conditions we impose on life, holding ourselves to ransom and therefore the world

  7. ‘Tit for Tat’ it’s often referred to… a controlled way of living it is rather than responding to life in our natural flow.

  8. True love has no conditions. Perhaps this is why we lose ourselves in the seeming chase of something that remains elusive by our own hand simply because at some level we do not want to receive it for when we do, all that we live that does not match such a beholding is instantly exposed for the abuse that it is.

  9. We have a choice in unconditional love for ourselves and everyone – there is a maturity in this understanding that isn’t age related, (being that we are never too old or young to choose this).

  10. I am discovering more and more, and learning to find my way with surrendering to the truth, that the love we are is already everything we could ever imagine we want or need to be, and so much more. And the more I allow myself to just be, and entrust my love to guide me, the more I understand the wonders that we all truly are and the magic that we can freely live together.

  11. I really feel how constricting a life I have made it to be by trying to protect what doesn’t need to be protected, never daring to go all the way because I might get hurt – and I can feel how that is how I stop Love just be.

  12. Anything with conditions is not Truly Love at all.
    Love holds another in absolute equalness and has no holding back, on off switch or barter system.

  13. Conditional love – our common currency and to make sure it stays that way, we forever raise the bar and hold the world and other people to ransom with the conditions we put on them and situations.

  14. I feel the responsibility in this blog of owning being conditional in the love I put out and about the quality of love I will receive. I am discovering there are pictures of what I want it all to look like, conditions, standards, expectations. It does not allow me or another to simply be ourselves. Bizarre and would have gone un-noticed had I not chosen to be more aware of what love might be, what my essence might be and that they might, just might be different to my current picture.

  15. Lol, love the last line. What a great expose of the endless game we can chose to keep playing. A game that will never end as the rules are forever changeable. A game that we can forever make sure we never have to be all the love we are.

  16. Holding onto hurts taints our ability to truly love another as there is sure to be conditions in relationships as a protective mechanism to not feel that pain again, it is not until we let go of hurts that we can once again love another and live with full appreciation of the reflection they offer us instead of reacting to the pull of evolution.

  17. What I have noted lately is the more we ask of people to be a certain way or look outside of ourselves for love, we ultimately have stepped away from our own connection and halting the love we hold within automatically. Connecting to our bodies and how we move from our own built in radar of love and support not only helps our protection to come tumbling down but we let others in too. Letting our love out lets others in, a win, win on all fronts.

  18. ‘I will be caring towards myself once I get past this project/issue etc.’ To be honest this was a bit of an ‘ouch’ for me, having a new job since a few weeks I have been thinking something similar knowing how this is not true. I have not been acting completely in this way but nevertheless I feel I haven’t been the deliciousness of me in full. How amazing there is a new day tomorrow with new choices to make.

  19. This is very cool. I was so caught in the game of conditional love – a true wallower who made it all about what I got out of something. Ouch. Thanks Joel for breaking the back of this and exposing the game of conditional love and what that actually means.

  20. So true that a quick change of the rulebook from time to time is a way to hold onto conditions and not let go of our ‘criteria’ of letting people love us, or us love them.

  21. Funny isn’t it, but not really that we play chess with the light of God. It’s all there and we say not right now thank you, perhaps a bit later, I just want to do this before. When our whole purpose here on earth is to return to the light we once came from.

    1. indeed, yet there it is, in so many of our choices and movement, a protection that shackles us more than it prevents harm

  22. It is not that “the more we fill ourselves with conditional love, the more the essence can’t get in” but burying it deeper under the conditional love for as you say Joel, “this essence sits unexpressed and unaffected by life’s ups and downs, while we continue to calculate how much we need to protect it from the world.” Our essence is already ‘in’ we just need to let it out – feed our essence with love and the ‘sand’ will be pushed out.

  23. We can protect, we can sulk and hide and we can wallow in all of it or we can consider we come back to our movement and feel how we are and how we can be and know that deep in us we have all we need, that we are delicious and we can choose to live and be that or not. It’s the thing we all crave the most and yet we miss it and do not always choose to nurture it, and that’s the thing we can choose to live it and then allow ourselves to be with how the world is with that, and learn to be with that, or we can protect in case the world reacts.

  24. This has exposed how much I have used control in relationships, not got my own way, but then used another skill to look for sympathy which means I get my own way eventually. Interesting how we think that this is love. If there is ‘self’ there is no love.

  25. Yes we recalibrate our expectations of others so that they are never able to fulfil them, which gives us justification for why we are miserable in life…

  26. I love this Joel, you managed to put a road block up on the ways we attempt to not be all the love we are, adding a bit of humor while allowing one to feel what harm we are doing to ourselves by making conditions on love. This in itself is humorous as love has no bounds.

  27. Holding onto conditional love creates a life full of ups and downs, always at the mercy of others and craving that very thing which is equally within all of us just waiting to be reignited and lived in all its fullness.

  28. When we are not limited by conditional love is when we are at our safest, as it is then we are more able to see and feel truth as there are no pre-judgments and we can then respond most appropriately in the any situation.

  29. It is almost ridiculous that we would sabotage ourselves in this way… to set the conditions then change them in fear of ever having to live and express all the love that we are just in case people do not react in the way we would want them to. But there is a level of love that can be offered and lived that requires nothing in return, no conditions, just love… and it is worth sharing.

  30. Conditional love says…we love you just the way you are which is code for don’t live the love that you are as it will be too much of a reflection for me, which means I will have to look at how I am living my own life and that would be too much responsibility. In fact the code would be much more loving for it’s much more honest.

  31. I’m learning to Joel, learning about myself, learning to share myself and learning to be open to life; overall a forever student.

  32. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see love as an infectious disease. Acts of kindness would be the mode of transition and there would be no immunisation or antidote 🙂

  33. It would be interesting to know if the general populous actually understood that there is a difference between conditional love and true love. I know that I didn’t once upon a time, it is only through attending Universal Medicine presentations that I have been able to reconnect to what it really means and not settle for all the trappings that come from conditional love.

  34. True love has no need for conditions at all – Serge Benhayon has consistently role modeled to thousands of people everyday how we can live this truth everyday.

  35. I know this type of love very well. The willingness to play small in order to not let others feel uncomfortable in your presence. The willingness to pretend you don’t know when every pore of your body is spilling out the innate knowing. The willingness to not appreciate how precious, caring and loving we all naturally are when we make our life about living our true essence.

  36. “We have this essence that we crave very, very deeply, but because we try to protect something that doesn’t need protection, we cut off our own ability to connect to it.” This is key to understanding how ridiculous it is that we deny ourselves (and therefore everyone else too) our love. Ridiculous yes but also understandable given what we see around us and that our role models – parents, teachers, friends, celebrities etc know no different so are all playing the protection game. This understanding is so supportive as it means that when we do encounter a true role model, reflecting unconditional love – Serge Benhayon was the first such reflection for me- we are able to see them and begin to feel the truth that we are this too.

  37. Conditional love is not love at all, as it comes with control, protection, resistance, manipulation…. wanting to receive what is not being offered, therefore always bringing some kind of dissatisfaction. Knowing this can be the first step to truly connect with Love.

  38. ‘…conditional love is very much the predominant expression of love in the world today.’ This is spot on. If we just take a look around us at the advertising of love….buy this for love, but that for love, wear this for love, drive that for love, eat this for love and worst of all DO THIS for love. It’s an assault on the love we all know is true and an aggressive attempt to cover up our innate understanding of what love actually means which has zero to do with giving and receiving.

  39. HI Joel, it’s wonderful to meet you, I too am a recovered wallower and would love to share my toys with you also!

  40. It is crazy really that the thing we crave most, our essence, the part that expresses who we really are, the yummy delicate loving part of us that when claimed in full opens us up to seeing the beauty all around us and in each other we choose to hold back and keep it for ourselves fearing what may happen if we let everyone see us shine. Knowing that we don’t need to protect our yumminess and that it can never be harmed, altered or tarnished is something that takes a while to accept as we are so used to doing everything possible to protect it.

  41. I love the key points you highlighted Joel, getting trapped in the illusion that we need to protect our essence closes ourselves off as well as others to the innate love we hold within and separates us further from making a true connection with others.

  42. Thank you Joel. If we hold back just a little bit in the love that we feel or in our expression we are being conditional, now I can really feel this to be true.

  43. I can relate to rewriting the rules on love and controlling how much I allowed in and let others see when I judged the conditions were met that I had set on others. I have come to realise how capping this is from being able to express love with the ease and natural simplicity it is.

  44. I love this Joel, the corker is at the end where you expose our true manipulation of rewriting the rules in which we will engage with the world from our essence. Having just done Livingness 1 a couple of weekends ago, what was as plain as day was our essence is absolute and cannot be hurt or tarnished by life’s events. It is the same pulse and pull as ever, I found that amazing and also confronting as it totally exposed my investment in my hurts to define myself.

  45. Conditions sound like the pictures we hold about ‘the way things should be’; the expectations we have. No wonder we get cranky when our pictures get smashed.

  46. It is utterly crazy the way we live our lives protecting that which is so natural and abundant within us all, we like to control and place conditions as a safety mechanism not understanding that the only way to feel safe is when we are truly open and loving with another reflecting our true essence.

  47. The most difficult conditions to let go of in relationships are the ones that on one level make sense! Like being treated with respect, being listened to, being included, being honest etc. Yet even these cannot be conditions that we bring to our relationships because otherwise they become needs or demands which do not allow another the freedom to make their own choices. This does not mean we put up with abuse but we cannot expect another to be how we want them to be, even if what we want them to be seemingly makes sense.

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