There are many sayings about how love is NEVER selfish, the best relationships actually are. Selfish love sounds rather undesirable, but is the key to true unconditional love that is not codependent.
When we hear the word, “selfish” we often default our thoughts to someone that takes from someone else without giving.
However to be selfish in a relationship can actually aid to improve a relationship, because we are able to insure our own needs are met in order to focus on and give love freely to others.
One thing I learned while working at a mental health clinic, was that the happiest, most successful relationships are the ones where the partner only requires their spouse to fulfill no more than 30% of emotional social needs. Even as little as 18% of needs being met by our romantic partner offer the potential for an enduring relationship.
Why? Because there is a relief of pressure from partners and one’s happiness becomes the responsibility of the individual not the partner.
Often we become trapped in the world of OVER pleasing others, to the point we create a deficiency in ourselves that breads codependency.
Behaving, supporting, even changing ourselves to be what those we love would like us to be in order to keep others happy and make sure others needs are met, can create the opposite of unconditional love. This stems from fear of being rejected for not being enough. Once we make our choice of what/who we want to love, we can begin to become what we think the other person would want and often place their needs above our own.
While “selfless love” is programed into us from the time we are young and is believed to be a higher form of love, it creates a whole pile of the opposite of love, indifference. It also makes us a prime target for toxic relationships.
Problem #1: Years of suppressing our true authentic desires, self discovery, individuality and yearnings, can cause us to become co-dependent and not know who we really are or our true purpose.
Our whole world becomes wrapped in another person’s joy and happiness. If they have a rough day, we also have a rough day. Happiness is an inside job, yet we can learn to expect another’s happiness based on our own actions, rarely will we see the validation for our efforts and love. In fact, we may become obsessed with serving and pleasing our partner in order to feel good enough to be loved back.
If we do have a realization of this, it can be extremely devastating as we become aware of wasted time, talents and opportunities should the relationship end or circumstances require self reflection.
Problem #2: We are fitting ourselves to an ASSUMED mold of what we think the expectation is based on a personal opinion of another. Because our perspectives are as unique as ourselves, we may never know if the view we think others think is accurate. Even when we say we want something we may unconsciously prefer something else.
True unconditional love is a free from the expectations of our own perspective of what someone should or shouldn’t be.
As we please others for the sake of pleasing them, we expect them to love us the same if not more for doing so. The belief of “If I do this, I will be loved by this person” fuels us to take action in our relationships. The validation given by the partners love reinforces these beliefs.
Problem #3: Conditional love becomes the standard. Loving with conditions means we express love, perform sweet favors, even give intimacy when our partner behaves or gives to us in a way we are pleased with.
We know when we are living in a state of unselfish/conditional love when we:
- Find ourselves declining something we love to please another
- Feeling resentment and unsure why.
- Withhold love, affection, time, or even kind words because our partner “doesn’t deserve it”.
- Feeling irritated over small things that normally are not an issue.
- Make plans based on what the other person does or doesn’t do
- We desire to say something, but find ourselves not fully expressing our full thoughts & feelings
- Making lists of why we love a person for tangible evidence that warrants, (or reminds) us of feelings towards those we love.
- The doormat. Allowing another to treat you less than you desire, and allowing it in the name of “love”, embracing victimhood, or self-righteousness.
May I suggest loving more selfishly. Love your partner just because it brings you joy to give your love to another human being!
Give and express your love because you feel your heart will burst otherwise!
Give the gift of unconditional love in it’s purest form, as a GIFT. Expecting nothing in return.
We want relationships because selfishly we want someone share our lives with. When we share our time, thoughts, and even our bodies, we get to because it brings us joy to share so much of ourselves with another person.
Think about why we desire relationships in the first place. It’s because we desire to share our lives with another person. Someone to hear our pain, someone to celebrate our joy with us. Selfishly, we want to be seen and validated through our experiences. Share the experience of our thoughts, opinions, joys, disappointments, and the journey of our lives to be enhanced by having someone to experience them with.
If we are to experience a relationship where true unconditional love can be expressed we must love selfishly first. We must give because we feel positive emotions when we give, not in order to please another person or for what that other person will give to us based on what we give.
To love selfishly is to love unconditionally.
“Your actions do not dictate the amount of love I feel or express towards you. I express it because it feels good to do it.”
(Actions DO dictate how much of my time & energy I spend with you…but that’s another topic.)
I know it feels backwards in the way we are programmed to love and think. We are taught to give our “all” in the name of love. To “lose” ourselves in love.
I encourage you to allow love to aid in FINDING yourself.
This means I absolutely LOVE love… I think about it, enjoy experiencing it, and can find it anywhere I choose.
The struggle I have is that I often feel saddened when I feel I do not have anyone to express love to. Single life can be challenging for someone that loves being in love. (As was a lonely married life, but explains why I was able to sustain it for so long.)
I have found I can selfishly give love to my children. Love them just because I do, not because they earn it.
I love giving love to the sweet friends in my life I also consider family/my tribe.
I can give love to the strangers on the street, friends I barely know, I give because it is in my nature to see others and adore their uniqueness and their soul.
I can give regardless of what I am receiving because I receive SO much love and light from the Heavens! And I do know all I give in this world comes back to me tenfold. There is never a shortage of love in my life as long as I continue to give it out for the joy of giving and by doing so selfishly knowing I get to receive it as well. (Therefore I don’t have to demand, hunt, acquire, possess, or barter for it.) Selfishly, I get it.
When I do date, although I am very particular in WHO I give love to…I love giving and relishing in a sweet man when we connect. I love them freely and would never ask for them to “claim me”, never push to know how they feel about me, nor require them to spend all their time with me. I love selfishly loving them, enjoying their company when in their presence and sharing my ups, downs and thoughts on life. If they love me selfishly, they will give to me too! They will feel so much joy loving me, it will be obvious how they feel for me!
I give love truly for the joy of giving. I choose to be loved the same way. If love and affection is given to me, I desire it to be purely because the person giving it wants to for it enhances their human experience… not because I may or may not be happier by their actions.
Here’s to selfishly choosing to let ourselves love unconditionally.
Love & Light,