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

1,623 thoughts on “Trapped in Conditional Love

  1. Conditional love is everywhere, we think that love is love but most people are living with conditional love, not true love. So great blog, very important to discuss this and the difference between the two.

  2. What a game we play. I can see it in myself in the demands or expectations on others to be the love I won’t be for myself, as well as the unwritten rules in relationships so neither of us fully shine or speak the truth. Tipping out that unconditional love to make way for the love I am in essence is the way to go.

  3. We all want love and whilst we often accept the conditions that come with love, we know this is not true love.

  4. To me conditional love is like saying “I’ll love you like this, if you love me like that.’ It’s a convenient arrangement, but a million miles away from true Love.

    1. Ooo yes, that’s exactly what it feels like to me also Susan. “If you don’t show love or give love like I do, then you don’t really deserve all my love, but maybe I’ll give you some of it.”

      1. It’s basically holding ourselves and others to ransom but in the meantime we all loose out – a lose lose game if ever there was one.

  5. Any condition immediately places a barrier between ourselves and another, it is a picture waiting to be smashed and is a very lessened way of life.

  6. Joel I have discovered this for myself,
    “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.”
    I know I put something very precious (my essence) and hid it from the onslaught of childhood but then couldn’t find where I had put it. And it wasn’t until I met Serge Benhayon that I started on my journey to reconnect to my essence which is to me so very precious and I feel full of me.

  7. So very true we are forever caught up in the next ‘something is not right or needs to be achieved’ unless we make the choice to bring ourself to life in full and in every moment. There is a choice to be made how we want to live our life and we actually make it in every moment, so it is our self we need to turn to bring the change we want.

  8. Such a great explanation of what conditional love means, we just throw that word around ‘love’ and hope that it sticks within ourselves and also with others. We really don’t understand that there is true love and all that that encompasses, truth, harmony, stillness, joy, instead we settle for the romantic love, or conditional love that is all about rules and neediness. This isn’t what we are made up of and know innately within to be true, hence why we fight so much and life is a challenge, because we know we are more than how we are currently living

  9. I loved re-reading this blog – this line has made me chuckle from deep within, I also remember being stuck in wallowing for a while as it incited sympathy and people leaving me alone to get on with it. Such a game of manipulation to maintain the status quo of conditional love –
    “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”.

  10. Conditional love has become a currency we trade in, if you do that, I’ll do this, it is a love of convenience because it doesn’t ask us to be the love we truly are, yet when we let go of conditional love for true love, we would never settle for conditional love again.

    1. It’s a reality that it can feel quite painful when people react to feeling the true quality and essence of love we bring, and to simply being the fullness of ourselves, we can withdraw or tone ourselves down – essentially not being ourselves. But the true pain is always in missing who we are and not choosing to love ourselves and stay connected to our essence in those moments.

  11. This is a great line “the more we fill ourselves with conditional love, the more the essence can’t get in”. It’s all an illusion isn’t it, that the very thing we chase after by compromising and being in conditional love is there in abundance as the loving essence we actually are.

  12. By looking outside of us for what is within ‘we seem to be forever placing the thing we crave most just out of reach’…. I intend to ponder on this one today.

  13. Conditional love, the invisible contract we sign with ourselves and others to not rock each other’s boats, or push each other’s buttons, it’s really a love of convenience and comfort and at the same time it traps us into a relationship that we are unable to find our true selves, because we are always pleasing another in the belief that that is love, when we connect to ourselves and experience that love comes from within first we realise that conditional love is a compromise.

  14. Love must be the most misinterpreted and therefore misunderstood word in our language. I love the way you have sorted this out for us Joel with the conditional love and unconditional love. The problem lies in the fact that we have equated ‘need’ with love making it a currency and missed the simple truth that love is who we are . . . it is not an acquisition.

  15. Joel, thanks for this great article, your description of conditional love is really helpful; ‘Basically we are saying, “I will only be happy when the surrounding circumstances equals the conditions I set.” … This is conditional love.’ I can feel how this is a ‘common’ way for us to live in our society, that we will be love with everyone if they are loving with us, if they are not then we can react and be cold and critical rather than remaining the love that we naturally are.

    1. Absolutely Rebecca…it is a game of right and wrong we play with ourselves and each other which essentially communicates ‘I’ll come out and play right after you’. The problem is everyone is playing the same game…hence why letting go of our conditions is to be responsible irrespective of what everyone else is doing…

  16. Conditional love is something that is rife throughout the world. What does this mean, people view ‘love’ with conditions as you have shared Joel. They are set up with expectations and attachments, hurts usually get flung around like they are a tennis match. It usually has a foundation of conflict or comfort, one of the two and isn’t very evolving, it is all about keeping the status quo, not about evolving in a relationship.

  17. “the more we fill ourselves with conditional love, the more the essence can’t get in.” Very apt Joel, we don’t need to ‘top-up’ true love with anything – “Love is a stillness that needs nothing.” (Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings and Revelations p. 664)

  18. Conditional love is manipulating and control to the highest degree… yet, for a long time I didn’t see it this way. True love holds a stillness that needs nothing… now this is the type of love that is worth fostering!

  19. ” Trapped in Conditional Love ” The word trapped caught my attention, for the ” trap ” is what we have put in place ourselves so as to not feel the love and light that we are in human form. So truly we are not trapped we are pretending we are trapped and therefore using all the excuses the world provides us so as to stay in conditional love . Even ” conditional ” love is not true for love has no conditional .

  20. For some reason when I read ‘conditional love’ it makes think of singing a song. I guess it’s the memory of those ‘love’ songs which add further weight to what this article is saying. Why is the downside our go to? Why when things are going ‘well’ or we are moving forward to we start to look at what can go wrong? It’s almost our default, like to say it’s ok to be ok but if you go beyond ok then make sure you look below again and come back to ok asap. We seem to gauge a lot of how we are with how it looks for others and yet this has always led us off the path and into the dark. As is being said the ‘conditions’ we place not only on love, but life and people make us heavy and have us looking down. What if there is a way to live that truly respects and loves others by keeping it light? What if in place of looking down we just keep our head up and allow everything to come to us in place of us going to it? That’s a lot of questions I know and the point is that we should give ourselves permission and space to feel what we feel and not judge it or move it somewhere else. Truly feel what is there and from there take your next step, knowing that by feeling the first step the second would be with more awareness of what is truly happening around you, no conditions.

  21. Most conditions we hold in relationships are unsaid, they are ‘invisible’ so to speak but lurking in the background. Although when a condition is not met it certainly comes out into the open and any need for it to be met drives the ugly behaviours we see occurring in relationships. Hence why becoming aware of and letting go our conditions is key to a successful relationship…

  22. Profound sharing – sharing with us the way of love commitment and truth. How this goes hand in hand.. I recognized my way of being very much in the 3 conditional love examples.. Whoops. Realizing I have invested in people: wanting that they accept me and not disagree and then I will be honest.. What a misuse of energy towards myself and to people.. Something to work deeper on – my self-acceptance, that these issues start to fade away.. as they in truth never truly existed..

  23. Joel I can so relate to what you share here, that forever pushing the goal posts out of what we expect of others or ourselves before we’ll truly shine in all we are, and then the expectation that somehow someone else will rescue us or be how we want them / it to be so we can shine. It’s a game, and one we know well and yet we must equally know the love we are, otherwise we wouldn’t be so good at all those conditions we put in place.

  24. Conditional love was something so foreign to me as a little child. I remember just holding everyone in love and it was completely needless and required no actions. However, I fell for conditional love after a few years and started to direct it to a special few who wanted to feel more loved than others. As a much older adult I am now resurrecting what was natural from the start and undoing the conditional footsteps. It is a process and there is no perfection but the humbling and loveliness of returning are something to treasure.

  25. So good!! Yes to everything you said Joel. Being an x-conditional love addict myself, I know from first hand experience it simply is not it!

  26. The way we have come to know the word love could quite possibly always have the word “conditional” attached before it. Which then leads to – what is the truth of love if all we know of love is conditional?

  27. Our Divine essence is there deep within each and everyone of us but when we wallow we bury it under layers of sand of conditional love and expectations. When we breathe in reconnection to the love within then layers of sand start to wash away.

  28. When we deny feeling our own love in our essence we look outside ourselves for the love we are unwilling to accept within and in that need accept the false form of love as true love and this becomes our undoing.

  29. “We seem to be forever placing the thing we crave most just out of reach.” this is a fact, as it keeps us identifying being individuals in separation to our soul, dwelling in the high and lows of life with no sense of responsibility to be more. True evolution is our movements in alignment to truth and the essence of who we are.

  30. Yes the irony is that even when the conditions are met we just change them so that we can maintain our excuse that ‘I can’t be me because my conditions are not met’. Hence trying to meet another’s conditions is futile because they will just change them even if you do…it is about connecting to our essence and that of another.

  31. The repeated wallower often is not aware they are a wallower, demanding of life the perfection they seek, but with great blogs like this the light can be shined and the dastardly wallower that covers the lightness within revealed.

  32. It is true, we do not like the reactions we receive from others and hold ourselves back from shining, but eventually, we have to get to a place where we know that by holding back we are reflecting to everyone that it is ok when deep down we know it is not.

  33. It is our stubbornness and unwillingness to be responsible for the love that we are that keeps us stuck in this kind of unconditional love which is not the true love we have a sense of and actually want. …so we all lose out and yes those unwritten rules justify our keeping quiet and keeping the game going, keeping us at a lower level of vibration and certainly a long way from the joy that could otherwise be had.

  34. Often in life we don’t read the small prints of the contracts we are signing so too this seems to be the case when we choose conditional love, we are allowed to set the rules of what to do to get our love yet the small print that says that the rules can be changed any time are not shared or been honest about. We are simply playing a game and until we realise this we are trapped in its continuous looking for the love we are not allowing out.

  35. Conditional love keeps us in a spin and we feel emotional when our needs aren’t met, this is such a reduced version of love that so many accept as being ‘normal’. True love is something we all crave and it is possible with the simple connection to our essence where we can begin to feel the grander form of love that is available to us all.

  36. Protection not only cuts our essence off from the world but it cuts it off from ourselves also, all the while I was living in protection from the world I was seaching outside of my self for the one thing that was living within me all along.

  37. Thank you again Joel for this very supportive piece of writing. It’s quite something to get ones head around that we can’t be hurt, and it’s true I have felt the essence of who I am and it’s untouched, yet the part of us that registers hurt is still there, even though it is outside of our essence.

  38. Your blog raises the question why we continue to perpetuate a life for ourselves around choosing a lesser kind of love, a conditioned one, rather than the real thing – and why when we’re offered the real thing we don’t embrace it fully.

  39. Brilliant blog Joel, I haven’t read this blog for a while and it was a delight to read it again. I was going to highlight one part that stood out to me but really I want highlight the entire blog. Everything you’ve shared is absolute gold. I too was a master wallower who is now learning to let go of living with conditional love and choosing true love instead.

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