TED Conversations

Sunny Qureshi

CEO, IQ Training & Consultancy

This conversation is closed.

Can we get "Unconditional Love" from people not related? (other than siblings, parents or wife)

I was wondering why dont we get unconditional love from people not related. Siblings or parents are in fact spiritually connected while friends and acquaintances will love you for ECONOMICAL or Conditional reasons even in the most advanced nations, why is that?? Or Is it sometimes the opposite?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 27 2012: I always wonder about the concept of "unconditional love". Does it really exist? Is it healthy to love someone or something unconditionally? I understand that parents can have conditional love for their children and siblings may have unconditional love for one another - but what happens when you genuinely dislike the person? Are you still obliged to have unconditional love for them - a parent, child, or sibling even though you genuinely don't like them?

    I actually struggle with this issue as a new coach. Coaches are supposed to have 'unconditional positive regard' for the client. I quickly began to realize - there were just some clients I did not like as people. It made it nearly impossible for me to coach them because I was too busy holding up a mirror to them trying to show them that being a 'jerk' was the fundamental cause of their problems vs. allowing them to work through their own solutions.

    I find the concept of unconditional love/positive regard curious. There are just some people in this world (whether they are relatives, coaching clients, or something else) that you ain't gonna love, like, or have much positive regard for. Its best to just acknowledge that and move on.
    • thumb
      Feb 27 2012: not that i have any hard position on the issue, but.

      we have a philosopher/poet who wrote the following, in my rough translation:

      "love should be not like a string that attaches to people. it should be like warmth coming from a stove. it should radiate more on those who are closer, and less on those who are farther."

      i'm not sure whether it is a good idea. but it seems like another kind of love. maybe worth considering?
      • thumb
        Feb 27 2012: I like that Krisztián,

        It seems like the statement..."love should be not like a string that attaches to people", reflects something simiilar to what I'm saying regarding attachment/expectations?
    • thumb
      Feb 27 2012: Hi Robin,
      That is a great question...does unconditional love really exist? I believe that it does, and I think/feel that it is often misunderstood.

      You ask..."Is it healthy to love someone or something unconditionally?"
      I believe it is very healthy. Unconditional love, to me, means loving without expectations. It means giving whatever we choose to give without expecting anything in return.

      That being said, I think/feel it is also important to know what we want to give unconditionally, why, when, where and to whom. I love all people unconditionally as fellow human beings who share this earth. That does not mean I give of myself in the same way to everyone. Unconditional love of all human beings, to me, means respect, compassion, empathy for all. Sometimes, I don't particularly LIKE the person or his/her behavior. Sometimes, I don't respect the behavior, but I respect and have compassion/empathy for the person who is a fellow evolving human being...make any sense?

      To do this, we need to seperate the behavior from the person, and that is sometimes difficult to do. Luckily, my mom taught me this as a child. She always said about my abusive violent father...love the man...hate the behavior...he doesn't know how to love or be loved. So, I learned to have compassion for that person who did not know how to love, or treat people with respect. I did not love his behavior.

      It's ok if you do not like certain things about some clients. Perhaps you can respect them and have compassion/empathy for them? That, to me, is what unconditional love is.
    • thumb
      Feb 27 2012: Robin,
      I just thought of something that might help you deal with your feelings about your clients. I volunteered with the dept. of corrections for about 6 years, facilitating different programs with offenders, including "cognitive self change" sessions. A lot of these guys were hardened criminals, who commited some pretty terrible crimes against humanity. Some of the guys were difficult to "like" when considering what they had done to get themselves in jail.

      As a facilitator, I had access to their files, and usually read about their background so I would have an idea of who/what I was dealing with before they closed and locked that metal door behind me and the offender. There were always guards watching through the window, but you never know!

      Anyway, reading the files gave me a lot of information about why they were there...not just the obvious, but many things we might never know about people. Like the really tough guy, who was sexually molested by family members from the time he was 2 years old....sent to several foster homes where he was sexually molested again by the foster fathers...on and on....and on. He started living a life of crime as a child...stealing to support himself so he wouldn't have to go back to his home of origin, or the foster home....trying to be indepentant, so he didn't have to depend on people who were misusing and abusing him. That's what he learned as a child, and the crimes continued.

      None of his story is explaination or justification for his crimes. None of his story makes the victims feel any better. What it did, was help me have compassion/empathy for this guy, which allowed me to reach out to him and possibly change his perception of life? I don't know for sure...I had no expectations....we can only try. My point is, we all have different stories, and some are not very encouraging or supportive of a peaceful life journey. If/when we can remember this, it may help with the people we interact with? Just a thought:>)
      • thumb
        Feb 28 2012: Perhaps I struggle with people's definition of love. The concept of love is different from person to person. What people are calling 'unconditional love' may be my definition of a healthy respect for humanity and forgiveness of past mistakes.

        I flinch when people talk about unconditional love because I have seen people abuse the concept. I know abused husbands/wives who claim unconditional love for their abusive spouse when (in my opinion) the person does not even deserve their respect or time a day.

        Is my love for a husband/partner conditional - hell yes it is. Its based on the condition of mutual love and respect. Once that premise no longer holds the person no longer has my unconditional love.

        Even for siblings/ parents. If my family did something absolutely despicable, I could no longer respect them. My definition of love has respect at the foundation - I couldn't love them. I totally understand people's statements that the world can only be cured with love - which often means loving the 'unlovable' but to be honest, I'm not so generous. And most humans aren't either.
        • thumb
          Feb 29 2012: Robin,
          There definitely are many definitions and perceptions of love, and I percieve, by reading many of your comments, that you are a very insightful person, who will sift through information to discover your own truth about what love is.

          You refer to abusive relationships...
          I witnessed that with my parents, and also with my husband. I truly believed that if I loved him enough, we could have a mutually respectful relationship. What I discovered after years of trying to "make him happy" with encouragement, support and unconditional love, is that he was not willing, or capable of giving and recieving in the same way I was. I was expecting him to give me something that he could not/would not give for whatever reason. After 24 years, we divorced, and I continued to love him unconditionally, which did NOT unclude an intimate relationship or shared living situation.

          Interestingly enough, he started respecting me and was more emotionally supportive of me once we were seperated. When I let go of my expectations that he would give me unconditional love, then he gave me unconditional love! He has had another partner for 20 years, who he does NOT treat with kindness or respect.

          The point is, I let go of my expectations that this person COULD or WOULD love me in the way I wanted to be loved. When, after 24 years, I realized that I was jousting at windmills, I let go of the relationship, and let go of my expectations. My advice is that a person doesn't need to take 24 years to learn this...LOL:>)

          When we know ourselves, we know what we want in a relationship, and we know that we don't have to accept anything less. Sounds like you've already GOT that lesson Robin.

          Re: Family members:
          I have 7 siblings, 6 of whom are unconditionally loving, giving people. We have one sister, who is often argumentative, confrontational, and not enjoyable to be around. We love her unconditionally as a sister, and don't spend much time with her. We can unconditionally love from afar:>)
    • thumb
      Feb 28 2012: great question robin, i suggest you read the life history of that nun the one that was in the movie (Dead Man walking) and other instances in life one can find unconditional love given by nuns and priets for DEATH ROW inmates. But the question is even this comes with a condtion, the nun or priest has a job as reflected in state laws for them to be present for the deathrow inmates, so wher is the unconditonal love here?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.