Comment: On “Unconditional” Love and Support
I was always told that I was loved and supported unconditionally. It wasn’t until later that I figured out that was a lie. Certainly, you could tell your children, or your significant other, that you love them unconditionally. But until they test your patience and test the limits of your love, you will never know exactly how unconditional your love is. So I wanted to write something on “unconditionality.”
Unconditional love, unconditional support, is a lie. Of course there are conditions to everything, there should be, and it’s something we should admit to ourselves. All relationships are predicated on certain conditions, common examples of these are: mutual respect, not being an abuser, and reciprocation. Sometimes relationships are predicated on shared politics and understanding of the world, some are centred around mutual interests.
Ask yourself: “Why do I like this person?” About every reason you give is a condition for why you like, love, or support a person. When those conditions are not met it sours and harms the relationship. If I found out a friend of mine was transphobic, supported transphobic individuals, or had no respect for me, I’d cut them off. I have absolutely no qualms with ceasing communication with people that rub me the wrong way, where I see red flags, and where I begin to question why I liked them in the first place.
Saying love is unconditional is an outright lie, and does a huge disservice to anyone involved. There are ways to embrace your conditions, set high standards, and tell people why exactly you love and support them, without having to fall back on meaningless rhetoric.