When I was growing up, I was a constant witness to my parents fighting, arguing, and basically never getting along smoothly. Their love for each other was non-existent. They divorced and separated when I was at the ripe age of two years old.
Having parents who are no longer married is obviously not a singular experience; all of my closest friends live with the same circumstance. The experience that a child has with divorce will always be subjective and the level of impact on a growing individual will always be subjective too.
I have always lived with my mom. Except for a 3 month stint when I was 13 and my mom was in the hospital. Now, my mom and I have a special relationship, we are incredibly close. What made us become so close was the shared experience of knowing my father, which can be nothing short of traumatic. Just ask any of my 3 half siblings! My mother is, to this day, one of the most brutal human beings I have ever known.
She has lived with and beat two different types of cancer, been laid off from the job she thought she would retire from, overcome addiction, looked after her mom through endless injuries and hospital stays and the nights where she was prepared to say goodbye. She lived through that list, but she also did it while looking after me. I received fantastic support, advice, adventures, medical treatment, and encouragement for anything I wanted to take on.
Among the many life lessons from my mom that I took notes on, one seems to come up every day in my life: the importance of unconditional love. Unconditional love is what I think of as caring for somebody or something, no matter the circumstances. My mom likes to use the example is if she were to show up at her long-time friend’s house with a dead body, her friend would help her “get rid of it” My mom is no murderer. Don’t worry.
She has gotten more flat tires in the past year than she has killed mosquitoes in her lifetime. Away from home, I have ensured that I am always unconditionally loving my close friends and family. I view this type of love as the only kind of true love. I believe that unconditional love could solve a few global problems and crises. I make sure that I’m always showing unconditional love because of the classic saying: “treat others as you wish to be treated.”
Unconditional love is the stepping stone to bigger and better things and achievements. If you have endless support from those around you, it can be the help people need to push themselves further. As long as someone knows that they have strong support from their family and friends, they can put aside any outside pressure they feel. The pressure to succeed. The pressure to be fit and healthy.
The pressure to be active and not lazy. Even the pressure to achieve. Think to yourself and see what kind of pressure you feel from your friends, family, and significant others. If this pressure was taken away because you knew that those close to you would still love you no matter what happens, would you feel an even stronger sense of encouragement? A stronger sense of confidence? A stronger sense of self-worth? The answers to those questions will be subjective.
For me, the answer is yes to all 3. The unconditional love my mom has given me is what I attribute to my somewhat small successes. Because of the love from my mom: I was able to lose over 100 pounds, I was able to be confident in picking a possible career path, I was able to travel by myself, and most importantly, I was never afraid to be myself. I never felt the need to change my values or change my interests. Instead, I was supported to explore myself and my own heart.
I seriously hope that more people will treat their family and friends with unconditional love. This type of love can change lives. Amazing things can be accomplished if we have a strong foundation supporting us in the fury of wind in life that can blow us over. So, if you are having problems in your closest relationships, give unconditional love a try, and see if you can support others the way you wish you were kept.