Love comes in many forms, types, and intensities. For example, you might love someone temporarily, then fall out of love with them later due to incompatibility.
In other cases, you may love someone no matter what they do or no matter what they may think. This is technically an example of unconditional love: a kind of love that you give or receive without extra conditions. Let’s take a closer look at unconditional love, explain why it’s desirable in some situations, and how you can attract it in your own life.
What Is Unconditional Love?
Put simply, unconditional love is love that doesn’t come with any strings attached. It’s love that doesn’t have any conditions, which are things or factors that have to be met for a person to “qualify” for love.
For example, with parental love, a parent usually loves their child unconditionally. It doesn’t matter what their child does, what they grow up to be, or what they say. Because of the bond between parent and child, unconditional love is almost a guarantee.
Unconditional love can also be present between romantic couples, particularly long-term partners or married couples. Siblings might feel unconditional love, as can best friends. Unconditional love can be found anywhere, and anyone can be deserving of it!
Romantic love, “true love,” and “real love” are all considered to be manifestations of unconditional love. However, unconditional love doesn’t mean one person sacrifices themselves in a healthy relationship. You shouldn’t feel like you can’t care for your own needs if you are in mature love with another human being.
What Are the Signs of Unconditional Love?
Unconditional love comes with several main signs:
- A desire to accept a person, even with all of their faults, without a desire to change that person
- A focus on a person’s needs and wants through open communication
- A genuine feeling of affection toward the other person, without the need to make someone feel small. This unconditional positive regard ignores the little things the other person might do to annoy you.
- A reciprocal, rather than transactional, relationship. A reciprocal relationship involves giving and receiving love freely between both parties. A transactional relationship is, by definition, conditional rather than unconditional.
Conditional vs. Unconditional Love
It’s sometimes easiest to understand unconditional love by comparing it to conditional love. Unconditional love means that you love someone (or they love you) without them needing to do anything specific. You love them for who they are and what they do, even if they do something negative. The same is true if you receive unconditional love.
Conditional love, in contrast, is love that requires certain things to be met. For instance, if a husband only loves his wife so long as she says certain words or does certain things, he loves her conditionally rather than unconditionally.
Similarly, a parent who only loves their child if they follow in their footsteps and undertake the exact same profession loves their child conditionally instead of unconditionally. Conditional love is simpler but not necessarily easier.
Why Is Unconditional Love Beneficial?
Giving and receiving unconditional love can be very beneficial for your own well-being.
For example, unconditional love provides emotional benefits to the recipient. According to some studies, unconditional love activates many of the same brain areas related to romantic feelings of love. Put another way, if you love someone unconditionally, you may induce positive feelings in them and vice versa. That can help bolster the mental health and emotional wellness of the recipient.
Furthermore, a person receiving unconditional love might have much better long-term emotional well-being. Some research indicates that kids who receive high levels of unconditional love from parents or caregivers have greater emotional resilience in adulthood. They also typically have fewer mental health conditions or symptoms Not to mention, feeling unconditional love may also inspire greater levels of self-love.
In addition to those benefits, unconditional love feels secure and safe for the recipient. If you know that someone loves you unconditionally and that affection won’t be withdrawn if you make a mistake or do something they disagree with, you’ll have much higher feelings of self-worth, independence, and autonomy. Naturally, this can be highly beneficial for kids or young adults, meaning it is wise for parents to prove that they love their children unconditionally as often as possible.
Unconditional love can also help boost friendships and improve friendship resilience. Friends who love each other unconditionally, again, don’t need to worry about their friends abandoning them for whatever reason. This, in turn, creates better bonds of trust and acceptance between both parties involved.
Is Unconditional Love Always Wise?
That said, unconditional love is an important gift you should not give out freely. Because unconditional love is by definition unconditional, you could expose yourself to emotional turmoil or abuse if you love an abusive person unconditionally. This can occur in romantic relationships, friendships, and parent-child relationships.
If you’ve become friends with someone or taken a new romantic partner, keep in mind that you should not love them unconditionally until they have proven worthy of it. If you love someone unconditionally without knowing their true character, you could expose yourself to emotional pain later down the road.
That said, unconditional love is still a net positive for most individuals, including those who give it. For many, unconditional love is the only type of love there is. Some people claim that love can’t be conditional for it to be love in the first place. Anything else is just attraction or affection.
How Can You Attract Unconditional Love?
Attracting unconditional love will result in many positive changes to your life and mental health. If you want to attract more unconditional love in your life, you can focus on a few key areas of your relationships and thinking.
Give Unconditional Love
First, you need to give unconditional love to people who deserve it, including yourself! If you love your spouse, best friend, parent, sibling, or child unconditionally, you are much more likely to receive unconditional love in return. Giving unconditional love isn’t just good for the recipient; it also helps you learn to trust people and show affection more openly.
In addition, giving unconditional love can teach you how to accept people for all of their flaws. Each of us has flaws or problems; after all, that’s part of being human. However, if you want to love someone for who they are, you have to learn how to love them unconditionally instead of trying to (consciously or otherwise) change them or make them fit the mold of who you want them to be.
Surround Yourself With Worthy People
To attract unconditional love, try to surround yourself with positive, emotionally healthy, and stable people. These include good friends, excellent family members, your children, your parents, and your spouse.
By surrounding yourself with people who are worth unconditional love, you’ll attract and receive more unconditional love. If you aren’t the best at expressing your unconditional love, spending time with people who give it to you will teach you how to express yourself in this emotionally healthy way, enabling you to build deeper, more comprehensive relationships.
That said, it’s also important to ensure you don’t have unrealistic expectations for those around you. It’s normal for people to mess up and make mistakes, so make sure to cut a little slack for your friends and family members.
Practice Positive Thinking
Lastly, try to practice positive thinking to attract unconditional love. Practicing positive thinking will change your outlook and mindset when it comes to relationships, both familial and romantic.
As your mindset changes, you’ll act a little differently, feel a little more open, and be able to give and receive love more readily to people who deserve it. Changing your mindset and behavior will also make you a more attractive person, making it more likely that people will want to form bonds with you and give you unconditional love due to their affection.
Practicing positive thinking isn’t just good for attracting unconditional love, as well. It also leads to better mental health benefits across the board.
As you can see, unconditional love is an important element of many romantic and familial relationships. While unconditional love is important, it’s important to only give it to people who deserve your loyalty. That’s a key element of emotional and mental wellness. Discover more information about emotional wellness and relationships in 1AND1’s guides and resources today.