There is a famous short story by O. Henry, “The Gift of the Magi”, in which a poor young couple decides to gift each other secret gifts on Christmas. It so happens that due to lack of money, the wife sells her long hair to buy her husband a watch strap, and the husband sells his watch to gift his wife some hair ornaments for her long hair. The two exchange their presents on Christmas and realize how selfless their love is towards each other. This story leaves one feeling mushy, and shows us how selfless love can be.
The concept of unconditional love is not novel, and is often considered one of the best forms of love. In simple terms, it means to love someone without expecting anything in return. It does not lay its foundation on any conditions. For example, the attraction you feel for someone can be because of their nature or physical attributes. It is infatuation or love based on condition. It tends to reduce with time, and the euphoria one felt at the starting of such a relationship may not stay forever. Compassionate or agape love are some other terms for unconditional love. It can be in romantic relations, friendships, platonic relationships, and that between a parent and a child or vice versa.
One simple yet compelling question we come across when we talk about unconditional love is, whether it is possible to love someone so selflessly? Yes, why not. Even if the world is full of relationships where people expect a give and take always, there are some for whom giving seems to fulfill a higher purpose than receiving. Being selfless is at the core of such a relationship. One tends to think of the love that a parent feels for their children like this kind of unconditional love. But on a deeper level, the parents have this feeling based on one condition – the child has been their own biologically. So it is conditional. Unconditional love makes one happy and content without expecting anything in return. It means staying with someone despite the changes one goes through in life, to forgive and forget someone despite everything.
Pros of unconditional love
It is found from various scientific studies that unconditional love is beneficial to the emotional health of an individual and creates positive feelings in one. Also, adults who exhibit good secure mental health and greater resilience have parents who love them unconditionally. It increases security and self-worth in children. Change is an integral part of life but acceptance of such changes with time builds strong friendships.
Cons of unconditional love
A healthy relationship is based on mutual give and takes among both individuals concerned. If it only focuses on meeting the requirements of one person, and the other person feels exhausted, then it is not healthy. Similarly, if one person seems to tolerate all kinds of abusive behavior, and starts sacrificing his well-being in the name of unconditional love, then it is not good. Such ties will not allow you to grow. It creates toxicity for you and is harmful to your health. In such cases, it is best to stand up for yourself and walk away from such unhealthy love. No one has to tolerate any abuse in the name of love.
Unconditional or Conditional Love? It does not matter whether the love is unconditional or conditional. What matters is how happy it makes us at the thought of it. Unconditional love is love in its most pure forms, but it can cause one to fall prey to toxic relationships. Respect, love, and trust are the basis of unconditional love. If it seems that one is losing his or her sense of self-worth, then it is time to consider letting it go. Letting go of such a relationship doesn't mean letting go of the love one had. It means you are emotionally mature enough to let go of the relationship. It is to realize that even though one can stay apart with no daily communication, it is not the end of love, the feeling which brings out the best in someone.