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.
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.
Listing 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.
My online course How to Listen Well