Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Imperfect Conditions

I've heard lots in my life about unconditional love- how parents love a child, how you love your spouse, how families love each other, etc.- but I can't say I've ever felt it. I have to sound like a cold-hearted wench right about now, huh? Mom, daughter, wife, sister, all those roles, and I don't know that any of them carry unconditional love. I love them all dearly, don't get me wrong, and I don't love them for what they can do for me, but "unconditional" seems like too vast a descriptor. Unconditional is unending.  Unconditional never stops.  Unconditional has no, well, conditions.  I don't know that "unconditional" is even such a great term, as by default, it implies that any other love has conditions associated with it, when that's not really the case. 

It's not that any love other than unconditional love has conditions, or requisites, it's just that is imperfect.  Just like humans are imperfect.  We all reach a point where we can't take any more.  When our love for someone isn't enough to balance against the problems- the problems they cause for us, for themselves, for others that we love.  Each relationship is different, each person is different, and we change through time, so there's no way anyone else can judge another person's relationship. 

The thing is, if a love can't end, there's no reason to improve or change or grow with the other person.  If a partner always says "It's OK," then whatever needed the "It's OK" is never going to change.  If there's the potential for a love to end, then there's a reason to change, an incentive to try, a desire to fix what's broken.  And with humans, there's always something broken, needing fixed, or that has to change. 

Unconditional love gives us an out, a reason not to try.  What's more, it cheapens relationships.  It glosses over all the give and take- the WORK- that relationships take.  It dismisses exactly how much we love the other person, enough to better ourselves for them.  And it belies our respect for ourselves, it says that we're not worth the fight to keep. 

When conditions are right, plants thrive, and when the conditions aren't, they die.  So nurture your relationships as you do your house plants, by striving for the right conditions.  When we know better, we do better. 

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