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The Essence of Love

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Ilona & Roman
Love - it's the one thing everybody talks about, but few truly understand. People have always searched for love - love with family (in particular with parents), love with friends, love with intimate partners. Most of us are never completely fulfilled, and many are miserable their entire lives. It seems almost to be an elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We grow up believing that "one day I'll have it", and yet, in human terms, what does love really mean?

For many people love means acceptance. Fooled into believing that to be loved is to be accepted, and to be unloved is to be an outcast, we use (actually, we abuse) the word "love" as a reward for good behaviour. We believe that if we behave a certain way, or adopt a particular way of thinking, we will be loved more and therefore accepted. And on top of that, we do things in order to please others in the hope that we will be loved just that little bit extra. Loving and pleasing are not the same thing.

Love has become conditional. "If you don't do this, I won't love you anymore". How many parents have told their children that they won't love them if they continue misbehaving or being disobedient? How many couples have told each other they will love them more if they do as they are told? Love is not a prize to be idly thrown about as a bribe. Love is serious stuff because we have lost sight of what love really is. If we truly understood love, we would stop playing games with each others emotions and lives and not use it to emotionally blackmail each other for personal gain.

Real love is unconditional love, and means exactly that - unconditional. Loving someone exactly as they are, not trying to make them into someone we may be more comfortable with, just 100% acceptance. But how do you know you can unconditionally love someone? Well, you have to start by unconditionally loving yourself.

Unconditional love can only be expressed when we have experienced it for ourselves. We expect to be loved by others, but we find it difficult to accept the necessity of loving ourselves first in order to understand what it means to express love. Unconditional love stems from forgiving ourselves and others in order to find the compassion and understanding necessary to know what it means to unconditionally accept a person, and we can only do that when we unconditionally accept ourselves.

When we know what it means to unconditionally love we free ourselves from our emotional limitations and allow others to be themselves. We stop judging and condemning, we stop criticising and manipulating. Unconditional love nurtures the growth of wisdom, and fosters the principle of truth, for without truth unconditional love is unable to exist. Love will only exist in an honest heart, free from fear and doubt. Become honest with yourself and you will find what you are looking for, but avoid facing the truth within and the illusion of conditional love with keep you from true happiness.

Recognising our inner fears is the first step towards unconditional love. Many people fear intimacy; we fear allowing another person to get close to us and find out who we really are, insecurities and all. We fear we will be rejected because deep down we don't think we're good enough, yet a fear of intimacy and love always destroys a relationship before it has even begun. If we are honest with ourselves, we would recognise all the wonderful things about us that make us unique and irreplaceable.

Knowing and loving our uniqueness will attract a person into our lives who will love us as we are. Living a lie or an illusion will only serve to create further illusion and deception, eventually resulting in misery. Unconditional love is the greatest lesson humanity can learn.

Love is a pure state of being; it is ever present, growing and evolving through unconditionally loving ourselves, and then having the understanding to share that unconditional love with another. Learning to forgive those we believe have emotionally hurt us, we can bring unconditional love into our lives by changing our thoughts and our entire outlook on life. Through forgiveness we can touch the essence of our love, and change the perception we have of our life.

Love is the most important thing in life; without it, we make our life harsh and cruel, empty and meaningless. The rainbow is in our hearts, and love really is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, waiting for us to claim it as our own.
Ilona & Roman

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