Here’s Why You Need Conditional and Unconditional Love

There are two fundamentally different expressions of love—conditional and unconditional love.

A few years ago, I experienced a rather unpleasant moment that led to a huge insight about all this.

Here’s what happened:

I had just facilitated an awesome group call.

After sending out the recording of said call to everyone who had signed up, I realized that the audio quality was terrible (there was no other way to describe it).

I found it hard to even listen to the recording — that’s how bad it was. ?

So what happened next?

Well, let’s fast forward to the point where I took action. Once I had re-centered myself, I sent another email, mentioning that I would likely re-record parts of it because the audio quality was so bad.

Shortly after sending that email, I received a message from someone who had already listened to it. Who loved it. And who had gotten amazing results from it (as had another friend of hers).

She wanted the audio. As it is, with all its audio flaws. She decidedly did not want a cleaned-up version. She said the original recording was special.

I had only intended to offer this recording as a gift to be listened to online yet she insisted on buying a downloadable version.

I then also heard from a few other people that they loved the recording.

It’s important to listen to the feedback we get.

And that day, I clearly got the feedback that my flawed recording was powerful. Life (in the form of these wonderful individuals) taught me a really important lesson that day.

Something was working.

And I decided that I won’t try to fix something that’s not broken. And learned that a gift can still make the recipient very happy even when its “wrapping” (in this case, the audio quality) is not ideal.

How might this be relevant for you?

Well, maybe you are in a situation in your life where you feel you need to do something “perfectly,” whether that’s at work or in relationships.

What if you don’t?

What if those you would like to reach will appreciate your gift, your offering, your service regardless of the cover?

What if what you really had to do was to show up?

What if you could, “Come As You Are,” as Nirvana might put it?

What if showing up as you are was enough? What if you were enough?

Well…

You are!

You are enough. More than enough to make a difference.

That’s one side of the coin. It’s the truth!

Here’s the other side and it’s also the truth:

Like all of us, there are things you can learn and improve.

Just like my recording was more than enough to make a difference — and just like I made an effort to improve the audio quality for the next call.

Here’s what I took away from this

This experience reminded me of something I had learned from my coach at that time, Brian Whetten.

Brian once explained that there are two sides of love — the unconditional and the conditional. ?

Unconditional love sees the perfection in everything.

Conditional love asks: “And how could it be even better?”

We need both conditional and unconditional love.

  • Without unconditional love, we become overly self-critical. This may even impact our work as it can stop us from moving forward and taking calculated risks.
  • Without conditional love, we tend to not make any progress. We just stick with the status quo, instead of improving and growing.

Here’s the thing: we are typically unbalanced in one direction.

Our culture generally focuses more on conditional love. Some people may not even have a template for what unconditional love could feel like.

Is there perhaps a type of love you could use more of to move forward in your life?