So far in the LOVE Series, we have defined love, learned what the Bible says about love, the types of love, whether we really need love, and how to love; but, are we truly capable of love? Being in love is a desire to be around that person always and thinking about them when you are not. Without that person, your life feels incomplete. It requires trust and the yearning to do anything for that person and strive to make them happy always. You put their needs before your own. Love drives you to be affectionate, devoted, and to make sacrifices. It is intense, powerful, and passionate. It is the “irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired” (Mark Twain). The Bible defines love as being patient, kind, not envying, not boasting, not being proud, honoring others, not self-seeking or easily angered, keeping no records of wrongs, rejoicing in truth, protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). A lasting relationship is composed of all types of love and must include Agape’s unconditional commitment and decision to love, Phileo’s affection, Storges sacrificial love, Eros’s romantic love, Ludus’s flirting, Philautia’s love for ourselves, and Pragma’s long-lasting relationship. We need love to feel complete and gain a sense of belongingness, because without love we will always be searching for it. We can speak the language of love through words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, physical touch, and quality time; but no matter the love language, it is important to be united in love (Colossians 2:2) and to show love with our actions and not with words (1 John 3:18). Yet, with all we now know about love, we have not answered the final question: “Are We Capable of Love?”
The decision to write about love came from my own personal experiences and observations. It was God calling me to share not only what I know about love, but to learn more about love for myself as well. It was during the course of writing this love series that I finally started to understand what true unconditional love means and determine if we as humans are capable of such love.
My Experiences with Love
It was 2005, when I first experienced love; but it was not until 2007 that for the first time I experienced real love, when I married the man of my dreams – a godly man, a worship leader, my best friend. The wedding was perfect; then marriage began and babies were born and Satan all too quickly began to introduce temptations. My husband had an affair while I was pregnant with our second child and left our children and me. Just like that, the love was over. He chose no longer to love our children, our God, or me. Despite everything, I still to this day know that God’s plan was for me to marry that man when I did; but God also gave us free will, and my ex-husband used his free will to mess it all up.
There I was, 21 years old with a child and another on the way – left alone to raise our kids. I thought I would never find love again. Who in their right mind would want to date a 21 year old with two kids? I had all but given up on love when God brought someone very special into my life. We are not still together, but I will always be grateful for the time we had because he restored hope and taught me so much about real love and about myself. For that, I will always love this man. Not only did he WANT to date me, restoring hope that I will find love again, but he taught me a lot about love. He taught me how to love and how to show love. He taught me that there are additional factors to consider when dating when you have children and what I should now look for in a man. He taught my things about myself – making me more independent and able to do things on my own. Thanks to him, I no longer need a man in my life and instead simply just WANT a man. He restored my hope in men, my hope in God’s plan and desire for my life, my hope in finding real love. He gave love to my children where they lacked it from their father. For that, I could never repay him.
Since then, I have found an amazing man and for the first time in my life, I have experienced unconditional love. Trust me when I say, it has not been an easy road and our relationship has been through its share of challenges. Nevertheless, it is because of our unconditional love that we are able to survive. We have been through battles and hardships in our relationship and in our personal lives, which affected our relationship. Yet, we stuck it out, and together overcame it all, and I think we are better as a couple because of it.
It has taken an incredible amount of work for us to get to where we are today – many fights, countless sleepless nights, and many times, the desire to give up; but we have not given up! As a result, we have grown closer and finally learned how to have a real relationship full of real unconditional love. We have finally figured out how to make the appropriate sacrifices for one another, learned to work as a team to raise our children, understand each other’s feelings, show each other love, and most importantly, communicate with one another to let things go. Moreover, because of it – I now know what real unconditional love feels like, looks like, and it has changed my perception on the capability of being able to truly love someone.
In January, my parents got divorced after more than 26 years together. At the same time, my own relationship was on the rocks and in jeopardy of ending – which is not something I wanted, but was fearful of it happening. Now, looking back, I think I have a lot to thank my parent for in terms of my relationship and where it is now.
It was because of their divorce that I discovered how important it is not to give up on love. That is when I started fighting to make my relationship work. That is when I started to desire to experience and show real love, to change my perception on unconditional love. It was watching my parents give up that made me want to fight harder; and because I chose to fight, I now am on the way to having a happy life in a relationship full of unconditional love. How I responded to this situation came from deep within my heart and it was as real as real gets – my reaction surprised me and inspired me.
For decades, scientists have studies brain activity to try to uncover the secrets of unconditional love. Biologists believe that love is fundamentally a biological construct that all human cultures have the capacity to experience. Scientists consider unconditional love a separate emotion from romantic or sexual love. Unconditional love is a feeling of tenderness and affection, the desire to be with that person associated with feelings of pleasure and joy which often leads to tendencies to belong, posses, own, or sustain recurrent reception. It is the act of giving for the benefit of another – the only contentment that derives comes from the satisfaction of bringing about the positive changes to the life of the other person; the experience being indirect.
Unconditional love is a term to describe love for someone regardless of actions and beliefs. Many scientists, psychologists, therapists, and spiritual leaders believe we need to practice unconditional love in order to survive and evolve. However, are humans capable of it? Some say it is not possible because humans are too selfish and self-centered; yet, we all long for unconditional love. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “Give love and unconditional acceptance to those you encounter and notice what happens…” as “…the greatest gift that you can give another is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”
Unconditional love is a spiritual state, not an emotional one. It is not a choice and exists forever. All types of pushes and pulls from our emotions, upbringing, personality, temperament, ego, and experiences affect our ability to love unconditionally. These things make us who we are but also make us imperfect and fallible. The question is, can we rise above all these things and actually love someone unconditionally?
What Unconditional Love Really Means
Since my parents’ divorce, I have given lots of thought to the meaning of love and
how the word is so easily thrown around with ease. From my experiences, I have come to learn what true love means. The test of true love, unconditional love is this: would you still love the person even if they did something awful and hurtful? Would you still care about them and want what is best for them? If the answer is yes, you love unconditionally. If you answer is no, then what you are feeling is not unconditional love – it may be a strong emotion or feeling of attachment, but it is not love.
The state of love occurs when the love inside us aligns with the deep energy and frequency level of the love within someone else. This connection is not about desire, attraction, enjoyment, similar interests, common values, or emotions – it is something that happens outside of our own control. When the internal love alignment occurs, it lasts forever and can never be broken; forever connected with that person regardless of what happens on a humanistic level.
How to Love Unconditionally
- Loving unconditionally is a behavior, not a feeling. It is the act of extending ourselves into uncharted emotional territory with the belief that regardless of the outcome, we want to benefit the other person. Love is a behavior and the satisfaction of extending unconditional love is the feeling you get thus becoming a pure act of generosity.
- Ask yourself, “Am I truly acting with the most love I can for this person at this moment?” Unconditional love is an entirely new process to many of us and we want to convey sincerity with each person we extend that love to so that it is genuine and not conditional.
- To love someone unconditionally does not mean that the act of love is always going to be easy or comfortable. We have to be there for others when they have challenges and need to foster growth – even when there will be pain and discomfort. Unconditional love is honest but gentle, kindly communicating without judgment to help see them through to the other side.
- Forgiveness!!! Again, this is a behavior, and probably the most difficult aspect of true unconditional love that we must perform. This is something we consciously need to work on every day.
Are We Capable of Love?
Do I believe we as humans are capable of love? To be honest, yes and no. I think we all have the capacity to give and receive unconditional love, but we do not all choose to. I do not know why some of us are willing to embrace our capacity for unconditional love and others are not. It is still a mystery to me; but, from my experiences, it is a choice whether or not we allow ourselves to love unconditionally. If we are honest with ourselves, most of our life experiences teach us what we must do to show and receive love. Unconditional love is available to everyone. If God lives within us, then we have the capacity to show unconditional love. The way we receive unconditional love is by giving unconditional love – without any expectations or strings attached.
Unconditional love is uncommon but not impossible. God’s plan for each of our lives has always been uncommon, since the beginning – so this is not exactly a new concept. When we break the ranks of our culture and embrace the uncommon approach of love, we invite the opportunity to extend unconditional love to others within our everyday lives.
If you think carefully about those closest to you, there is likely at least one person in your life who understands and practices unconditional love towards you. When unconditional love is introduced into the equation, everything changes, and nothing stays the same – you simply cannot go back after having experienced it. Unconditional love heals the broken, empowers the timid, affirms the hesitant, and elevates those who have been overlooked, forgotten, and silenced. There is a power that comes to those who show and receive unconditional love.
Food for Thought
Love everyone and everything without attaching strings and without judgment.