Love – This is a word that is very frequently used in every language to describe our emotions ranging from something as relatively trite, such as, “I love your shoes,” to something as deeply significant as a mother saying, “I love you” to a child in the most vulnerable moment.
Is there really a difference between conditional love and unconditional love?
The answer is, yes.
What is conditional love?
Conditional love is a polarized emotion, meaning that it has an opposite emotion. The opposite extreme of love is hatred. Conditional love comes from ego and generally focuses on someone (like a romantic partner, child, parent, friend) or some thing (like a house, a car, or a job). When we love someone conditionally, we tend to want them to look, act, and think in ways that fit our own paradigms and expectations. We hold others accountable to our expectations in order to qualify for our affection. If they act the way we want them to, we express our approval; if they act contrary to our wishes, we withhold our expression of acceptance of them, usually in some form of anger. Conditional love polarizes our internal thought process to believe, “I am right, and you are wrong, so I think you should see things my way.” As soon as begin to judge someone as being right or wrong, it is our cue that we are not in a space of unconditional love because we are perceiving that we are the authority for someone else’s life. This ultimately results in a power play for everyone involved because it focuses on control, which typically elicits a defensive reaction from the people whom we are trying to change.
Another version of conditional love is passion, a term we use for the sexual feelings we have when we meet someone with whom we have “chemistry.” The term “falling in love” is a revealing expression indicating that we sometimes lose ourselves when we are involved in a passionate romantic relationship based on conditional love. Possibly, this is because we are looking for another person to complete us rather than looking to share our whole self with another. “Looking for our other half” is a statement that strongly indicates we are seeking to make ourselves whole through someone else, rather than working on ourselves to become more of who we truly are.
When someone acts in a way that vastly deviates from our expectations or does something to hurt us or someone we care about, we can transform the emotion of conditional love to the complete opposite end of the spectrum – hatred. Hatred is a very strong emotion that is rooted in fear. Hatred is extremely destructive and wreaks havoc on our mental, emotional, and physical well being.
What is Unconditional Love?
Unconditional love is neutral and has no opposite polarity. The source of unconditional love is Spirit; therefore it is available to everyone without discernment, and there is absolutely nothing we need to do to qualify for it. Unconditional love comes through to us at a soul level, beginning at the level of self-acceptance and self-forgiveness, and radiates divine light to everyone and everything. When we make a conscious decision to choose thoughts based on unconditional love, it does not mean that we agree with everyone and everything. It means that we consciously commit ourselves to expressing respect, kindness, and cooperation to everyone and everything in our environment.
Unconditional love is not something that happens to us or outside of us. It is the life force of energy within our very being and is ingrained in every cell of our bodies. We don’t have to search for love–we ARE, each one of us, the physical embodiment of unconditional love. Because unconditional love is life energy, it is formless, infinite, constantly in motion, and unconditionally available to us 24/7!
Unconditional love has a positive effect on our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual state of being, creating truth, joy, beauty, health, harmony, and everything in the world that is in our greatest good. The benevolent, compassionate nature of universal love flows through us and blesses everyone and everything it touches.
When we open our hearts to receiving and expressing the love of the universe, we feel expansive and radiant. We automatically rise above the limitations of fear because unconditional love is infinitely more powerful than fear; in fact, unconditional love is the most powerful force in existence. There is no amount of darkness that can blot out light; yet the tiniest amount of light can overcome darkness. This means that no matter how dark and chaotic our lives may seem at times, we can find comfort in knowing that our earthly world is always held within an infinitely larger context of universal love and light.
Remembering that we are each created in the energy of divine love gives us great inspiration and renewed hope that we each have the power to bring our own unique expression of unconditional love to the world, which brings healing to everyone and everything we touch.
Love and Light,
Thanks again for writing such a good post you made my day I’ve bookmarked your blog I’ll be back for more!
I am in a conditional love relationship, I have today 20-3-2015, only realised this, its feels like after reading your explanation of conditional and unconditional love, that a light has suddenly been switched on in my head and I actually feel sick as to how stupid I have been.My partner of 7 yrs, after a year of not having sexual contact ,with me,explanations for this were that we were now too old for that stuff, that I was fat, that he was not inlove with me, had sex with me last night,announced to me that we had sex because I behaved over the last 2 days exactly as he wants me to behave, everyday. That been that I don,t question him as to where he goes , that I don,t mention to him why he is so friendly or flirting with other women,etc etc that sex might be more coming, as he feels happy now that I kept my mouth shut on his activaties. .It feels like I have just been giving a treat for being a good girl. This been a man that had an affair, while in a relationship with me.
I’ve been reading your distressing message on this subject and I truly hope you’ve had the strength to leave this self-centred, mean spirited, uncaring partner. His ‘needs’ obviously came first and I am well aware that his behaviours will never change, however much he’d try to mask them.
It’s nearly 2 years since you posted this comment. I hope you’ve found a more fulfilling love from within; than with him or anyone like him. xx
I was in a relationship for 1.5 years and one day my boyfriend calls me up and says that his marriage got fixed with another woman. He says that he was living in the present and never thought about the future.
Also, he calls his love to be unconditional as he didn’t want to restrict me from achieving heights which I might not be able to if get married.
Thanks for sharing this awesome article. While reading, it gave me a real sense of unconditional love and so purely described. Hoping more stuff like this. Love it 🙂
I would love more on this
Thanks so much on the true definition of conditional and unconditional Love. A lot of people really don’t know the difference between the two and don’t realize which one their are…
I thank you with God’s Blessings to us all
Wow, this completely explains my life these days. I’ve been looking after my 86 yr old mother for nine years, given up my life for her and she has finally completely turned on me! Now I’ve had two cancer surgeries in the last yr and may be looking at another one soon. This arrangement has been like a bad,one sided marriage where one partner is not allowed feelings, thoughts, emotions, ideas or opinions on anything.
I’m really at the bottom these days. I am 64 now and feel like I’ve given up the last nine years for nothing……..I get no credit. This definition of conditional love has helped me understand what has happened. Thank you for defining conditional love for me.
1st, I wish, to thank you for your post on (The Difference between Unconditional & Conditional Love.) 2nd, after reading the Difference… It may have come a little to late to Save myself a lot of pain… Let me explain why! (After, dedicating & spending 11 Years of Honorable Service in the Military & another 15 Years serving as a Successful Family Genealogist.) I’ve been in a Fight for my Life! just asking for the same basic Rights as Others take for granted. Plus, it’s very Clear to me now… My own personal family, only has Conditional Love for me. (Which, I don’t need) Problems, are so great! Seems, i’ve been disowned & during a recent ‘Stress Test’ a (Atrial Fibrillation) was detected. So soon, I may be Facing some Serious conversations with a Heart Surgeon. (all this & (I) never-ever abused Drugs, Alcohol or anything else that Contributed to this. It’s all Stress & guess never taught to Protect myself. From Self-Serving people who Prey on Others like today culture.
I needed this more then ever today. Thank you and God Bless !
I agree, I needed this today, only wish I knew 20 years ago.
What an enlightenment! Thank you for sharing with us!
Wonderful article, amazing, I now understand why I have struggled with my relationship with someone who only has the capacity to love me conditionally.
Sadly, having left school at 16 to work full-time, I’m now 58 and have realised I have tried for 42 years to ‘please’ others. I’m a happy, caring person but have always felt hurt when badly criticised.
I now know, I cared too much about other people’s opinions by listening to them as they must’ve enjoyed hurting me with cruel words. I’m to blame for putting up with their wickedness because I didn’t put myself first – as it sounded a selfish attitude to have.
I’d like to clearly state, I no longer feel I should think that way – I’m wise enough to realise I’m worth respect, happiness and care and if I only get that from myself; I’m finally lucky enough to acknowledge it.
Many young and older people take their own lives trying to work out the ‘hell in other people’. Be Happy and Put You First, from now on x
Unconditional love is not something that happens to us or outside of us. It is the life force of energy within our very being. This is one of the best definitions of unconditional love. To love unconditionally enables us to tap into the deep passion that lives in each of us. I have a horse which makes my soul soar! The deep connection I have with her spirit makes me feel alive! I was beginning to feel that I was incapable of finding this deep spirit soaring connection with people (as I am not a mother). I now have a different perspective to live by. Thank you immensely.
It took me 52 years to realize that my mother’s love is conditional-I have tried so hard to seek her approval, failing every time. Now my three brothers have finally all shown their true colors by following in her footsteps. I have come to see their “love” as conditional and feel so lost. The last one, l realized, after a lie that there was no family gathering for Easter when in fact there was…l just wasn’t invited because my mother and l aren’t on speaking terms and it would cause too much “drama”. Funny thing about this brother-he is the very one that quotes the Bible and the unconditional love of all mothers. I guess he doesn’t realize that that once you tell your mother to stop treating you so horribly, suddenly the unconditional love becomes quite conditional. I’m heart broken and without my family now because l refuse to apologize AGAIN for something l didn’t do. I love them all so much, very unconditionally, l have always been the one to apologize just to keep the peace. But it’s killing me, l don’t know who l am. Please don’t mistake my unwillingness to contact them as not loving them all, it’s just self preservation and time to learn to love myself unconditionally.
I love this post Sandra and how you have defined unconditional love, bringing it to within our inner selves and the connection of that to the ultimate source of the Universe and all there is. Thank you.
I wonder if unconditional love truly exist between men and women or it only appears in the movie. I believe we all would like to have unconditional love that last forever from our parent, siblings, spouse/partner, children and friends. In my life, I rarely seen unconditional love. I have been in relationships where men say they love me yet I do not see their actions in expressing their love for me. I have an expectation from them so my love for them is also conditional. Do we love ourselves unconditionally? If we do, why do we dislike looking at the mirror when we notice we gained weight, grown white hair, wrinkles formed etc… I always dream that one day, a man would fall in love unconditionally with me. In order for this to happen, I just realised that I need to love myself unconditionally. I shouldn’t be relying on other’s love for me. With confidence and self love, it would bring personal fulfilment and joy to oneself. Learn to give ourselves more credits and self worth is far easier and better than looking for love somewhere else. The unconditional love should start from within. A lesson I learnt is not to rely on others to give you love. Love ourselves first to avoid disappointments!
Best answer yet
I am thankful , appreciate, grateful. May peace , blessing,prise be with you. We are light and love. Of the infinit universe of good will, good grace, unconditional love too, for, of,honest,turth and just. Robert
This message is by far the absolute best description of the two forms of love conditional/unconditional both separated by the more internal empower from within for oneself to gain love for another/ with conditions on various levels in which is needed to fully complete a true to ourselves and one another kinda love. This has given me a more broader picture of the true meaning of the word “Love” in which so many of us fear do to past relationships of rejection leaving our souls nearly impossible to be able to provide for one another faithfully with both unconditional love for ourselves so therefore we may be able to provide both unconditional/ conditional love to complete true love for prosperous relationship goals on life. My perspectives not so much mentioned above would be to provide minimal conditions to your significant other in the beginning to aide in building all of what truly defines the meaning of “I love you” with integrity shown not only spoke of. Thank you to the author of this article that has given me the true meaning of both kinds of love that should be freely given unlike within todays society of the perception of love requiring to be earned. Definetly not a true meaning of love or a way to win another’s heart for sure. I can relate to many of the blogs all to well myself. Now knowing unconditional love is love within ones soul utilizing vibing with energy to grow within a relationship has definently given me and my future stability knowing the true separation of the differences between the two, and knowing the signs of various meanings of the two with different perspectives.has given me the inner peace I’ve needed within knowing any future encounters feedback to the two loves being provided together to build a true to oneself kinda love that should never fail.with Gid by your side the whole way should never fail! This article.is a prime example of why marriages fail in this today plainly due to only providing one sides conditional love without understanding the true meaning of unconditional making perfect sence . Anyone blind to those results needs a bit more professional help on a different level. Thank you again for this article . God Bless all!!! I know our God has blessed me with being able to provide both kinda love faithfully because I serve my purpose for him 🙂