I was recently reminded about how much I hate so many common platitudes parroted to people everyday as wise “advice”. I knew immediately that instead of posting a rant on Facebook, these would make an excellent blog series to keep me busy. As a reminder, you’ll see songs or lyrics near and dear to my heart (and some not so much) referenced and linked many times throughout any of my blogs.
“You see it all around you, good lovin’ gone bad.
And usually it’s too late when you realize what you had”
These lyrics begin the song, ‘Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special. It is, in my opinion, one of most simple lessons of a well functioning relationship. And Sweet Southern Jesus, that guitar solo…
If you observe pop culture or any social media medium today, you see a lot of men and women follow incredibly idiotic relationship advice, seeking “unconditional love” from their current or future partner. There are countless songs that parrot the virtue of loving someone ‘unconditionally’. One of recent note and popularity is Katy Perry’s appropriately titled ‘Unconditionally‘
Here’s the issue:
Love is a form of currency of mutual admiration, it bears a standard of value. It is a virtue we obtain through trade with another.
It’s really pretty simple. I’m going to assume that most people expect to be treated a certain way in a relationship. For example, it’s traditional to desire monogamy (I know not all do). You also don’t want your partner to beat you up, be physically and emotionally abusive, and there’s an expectation of being treated with a certain level of respect and dignity.
If you don’t want your partner to cheat on you- that’s the opposite of unconditional love. You’ve created a condition to the contractual language of relationship, even if it’s not written, it’s implied. The same goes for being treated well or being treated poorly. If you’ve ever asked your partner to treat you a specific way (which I hope you have), you’ve set conditions.
Here’s when unconditional love exists- you’ll let your partner take any action and treat you in any way he or she pleases with no recourse or negative consequence on your part. If this is you, it’s a very unhealthy relationship. Get out of it. Stop reading and end that relationship.
Seeking unconditional love is one small reason why so many people have failed relationships. And I’m a romantic, I’ve never believed that because a relationship ended it was a “failure.” It isn’t-IF you learned more about who you are and what you desire in a partner. If you go from partner to partner, from failed love to failed lust, seeking ‘unconditional love’ then you’re doing yourself a major disservice.
If you love unconditionally then you love no one. If you’re “loved unconditionally”, then you’re probably being abused mentally, physically, or both! You have to hate yourself to desire unconditional love, because it literally means to proclaim “I have no standard for you to live up to.”
Someone who professes to love you will live up to you. Don’t let them sell you on abandoning your standard of value.
What is love? It’s what your virtues purchase from another. That’s why it means something. Looking at relationships through an economic lens may not be the most most romantic thing (to me it is), but it will automatically cause you have healthier relationships with everyone around you.
Lastly, I want to comment on what people actually want, that they mistake for unconditional love. You want someone who doesn’t leave you or make you feel inferior when you’re vulnerable. When you have done a poor job, failed a new venture, made a mistake in an argument, cooked bad chicken (almost unforgivable)…you want someone who will stand by you rather than attack you and leave. In fact, you’re actually instilling a wonderful standard on your Dearest One- and the distinction is vitally important.