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