unconditional love

It is often said that love should be unconditional. As I understand it ‘unconditional love’ means the near impossibility for not expecting anything in return for the love you give.

It is an admirable concept and a beacon of inspiration for parents and carers, as well as lovers and those who aspire to be. It may be more ideal than actuality. But still, it helps to think that it is achievable.

The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance (Brian Tracy).

Unconditional love

Unconditional love is probably one of those life-long journey things, rather than something we arrive at in ourselves or in any relationship. However ‘unconditionally’ we love, the objects of our affections will inevitably disappoint us or let us down in some way, from time to time. That can’t happen if love is truly unconditional.

So let’s leave that for the philosophers and dreamers, for now at least. I came to this because I was thinking about listening (while I was ‘listening’ to someone I love, incidentally).

“How about Unconditional Listening?” I thought.

Listening unconditionally is something we can all do right here, right now. Giving full attention to what another person is saying without judging, or attempting to steer or influence them or the conversation, is also a near impossibility, but it IS do-able.

But, we are not generally encouraged to listen well. The pace of life, an obsession with outcomes, and genuine concern for our own interests and performance all conspire to degrade our ability to listen properly

To listen unconditionally means that you suspend the habits of pre-judging or deciding in advance whether you will agree or disagree with what you are hearing. Driven by your curiosity, you engage in the conversation with the sole intention of connecting with the other person.

And who knows, that might play a part in unconditional love. Even if not, your conversations will be more authentic and productive.

Check out

My online course How to Listen Well

I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.



  1. Sue Marsh July 15, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Yes, it is doable…I try my best to do this, but often fail. I often want to “try” to help my daughter, tell her of my many mistakes in the hope of “helping” her! She needs to make her own mistakes and help herself…I am slowly learning this so now when I find myself “telling” her things instead of just listening I pinch my inner arm, hard. It hurts, as I am hurting her by talking instead of listening. Yes, I have indeed learned and conquered some lessons, but her path is hers to take, not mine…thanks for this reminder Barry.

    • bwinbolt July 20, 2015 at 7:25 am

      Thank you Sue. it’s hardest to apply this stuff with our kids, I find.

  2. geoffgreen2015carolvenice July 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Superb piece Barry

Leave A Comment