How to Love Unconditionally: 11 Tips for Loving Yourself and Others

Unconditional love is not dependent on anything we do or don’t do. It loves us no matter what. In all circumstances and in all possibilities. It is a love that does not grow when we are good or evaporate when we displease.  It is a faithful and constant love.

This kind of love is not easy.

It is based upon a choice. Not a feeling.

When unconditionally loved, people flourish. Have freedom to be themselves. To be vulnerable. To admit their mistakes without fear.  And it gives them the desire to grow into better people.

So how can we love those around us unconditionally? As well as love our self unconditionally?

Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.How to Love Unconditionally:

 

1. Be compassionate. Unconditional love remembers we are all flawed humans. Prone to mistakes and sinful. And because it remembers this, it is not so surprised that we have good and bad days. Good and bad traits. It doesn’t make excuses for the bad and ugly it sees in those it loves, but it has compassion for them.

2. Be patient. Unconditional love realizes that life is a journey. It knows no one has yet arrived. Nor does it expect others to have it all together. It will sit and cry with you and then encourage you to do better. It will do this over and over again, because unconditional love is patient and doesn’t demand others to be on its own time table.

3. Desire the best. Unconditional love always desires the best for the other person and it works to bring this about. It will sit for hours talking with the person to help them sort their feelings and thoughts. It listens more than it gives advice. It asks questions and helps the other person see new things, develop new ways of thinking. It sees more viewpoints than its own and is open to what is best for the person. It doesn’t act as the authority of their life and lecture or demand. It speaks the truth with kindness. The relationship is always cultivated and more important than actions and outcomes.

Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.4. Encourage and celebrate. Unconditional love encourages, instead of competing. It celebrates small steps and victories, knowing that the big ones are few and far between (as well as a combination of many small steps). It has an attitude of “you can do it,” and “I am on your side.”

5. Doesn’t expect perfection. Unconditional love knows that perfection does not exist in any area of this life and does not expect others to demonstrate or attain perfection. It does not point out the flaws and failings first, but notices what is working and what is done well. It does not give false praise but manages to find something to be thankful for in every situation or circumstance.

6. Sees the potential. Unconditional love sees the potential in others and helps the person see their own potential too. Not that it doesn’t also see the here and now; it does. It sees the person’s flaws, but it also sees the potential and works unselfishly for the person to reach their potential.

7. Forgives easily. Unconditional love forgives easily and when asked. It doesn’t keep a tally of wrongs or bring up the past to shame or blame. It realizes we all need forgiveness and works hard not to dwell on the past. It does not extract payment for wrongs, nor does it forgive only when it has decided that someone has repented enough or is sorry enough. Unconditional love does not expect forgiveness to be earned but gives it freely as a gift.

8. Studies a person. Unconditional love wants to get to know the other person — how they tick, what motivates them, their love language, their personality, and anything else they can about the person. Because by better knowing the other person, they will understand them, be better able to motivate them, communicate with them, and ultimately love them.

Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.9. Leads by example.  Unconditional love never expects or demands that others do something they are not willing to do them self. Their loudest preaching is by example. Unconditional love also knows that others are responsible for themselves and it does not take accountability for others who are not their responsibility.

10. Doesn’t mislabel. Unconditional love labels the behavior or action as bad, not the person as bad. It sees the difference and knows that a bad action is just a bad action. It knows that what a person chooses to do does not make that person unlovable.

11. Sets boundaries. Unconditional love knows what healthy boundaries are for itself and does not let others take advantage of them. Likewise, it knows how and when to practice tough love for the benefit of the other person.

Unconditional love is not easy.

It requires making hard choices.

But we can grow in the traits of unconditional love.

It requires laying aside our selfishness and often our first response that is wanting to pop out of our mouth.

Ultimately, unconditional love looks at how God treats us and models that behavior to others and our self.

Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What other traits does unconditional love exhibit?

Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth).

Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.Discover 11 traits of unconditional love. Learn how to love unconditionally, both yourself and others, so that you and others can thrive in relationships.

How Pride Impacts Our Relationships

 

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.“I think you are angry.”

“Nope.”  I spat out.

We were in our first year of marriage and driving north to visit friends.

“Well you sure seem angry.”

“I’m not,” I said staring at the red light we were waiting on.

Just breathe, I reminded myself. Stay calm.

“There is nothing wrong with admitting you are angry,” he said, a few minutes of silence later. “Anger is just an emotion. It doesn’t make you a bad person.”

I listened a little more intently. I had never heard that before.

“So, what if you are angry. Big deal. It would be better to admit you are angry and discuss it, than try and stuff it down and pretend you are not angry.”

“Maybe.”

He sighed. “Why is it so had for you to admit anything? To admit you are not perfect? To admit you are wrong?”

Ouch. I didn’t want to answer that question out loud.

We stopped for another light. He looked at me. I looked at him, trying to smile, but it felt so fake.

“Okay,” I spit out. “I am angry. I am angry at you. I am angry about this morning. I am angry.”

“Well,” he laughed. “Now don’t you feel better?”

Tears sprang to my eyes. Not with him laughing at me. No, I now felt like a failure.

He took my hand. “Do you know what? I love you when you are stubborn and don’t apologize, and I love you when you do. But it is so much easier to love you when you admit you are human and admit your faults. When you admit you are angry, when you really are angry. Just be honest. With yourself and me.”

 

How pride in a relationship affects  the relationships negatively, and why. 

 

Some conversations are tuning points.

Some conversations make us think and then come to new truth.

Some conversations we will remember in the future at just the right time.

This was one of those conversations.

I had always thought of myself as an apologizer. I don’t know how many times I had been told by my mother growing up, “Tell your sister you are sorry. Apologize to your brother.” And I had. I had always said the words, even if I had not always meant them.

But I had also been the perfect child in our family of six kids. The one where mom would say, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” and point to me.  Because I worked so had to do the right thing, I ended up apologizing a lot less than my always-in-trouble older brother and independent-and who-cares younger sister.

Yes, I grew up thinking I was related to Mary Poppins. “Practically perfect in every way.”

And when I grew older and time had passed, I realized that my mom was very prideful. I don’t ever remember her apologizing. And I had adopted more of her attitude than was good for me.

As I thought over the next months, and even years, about why it was so hard for me to apologize, to admit I was wrong, I came back to the same thing. My pride was tripping me up. Causing me to stumble and keeping me from confessing.

Pride of wanting to be right.

Pride of wanting to defend my actions. (After all, my reasons were so good.)

Pride of wanting to appear almost perfect.

Pride of what others would think.

Pride of exposing the truth to myself and others.

Pride of appearing weak.

Pride of admitting fault.

My pride was a stumbling block and affected my relationships. Because one thing pride likes to do, is lie. Pride lies all sorts of convincing lies. Lies that keep us from the truth. From perusing love. From abundant grace.  From growth and change. From deeper relationships. Pride is supposed to keep us from pain, but it doesn’t. Pride weaves elaborate lies that we tend to believe. Lies that in the end extract harsher consequences because of the tangle of deceit we create.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Some lies of pride we believe that hinder our relationships:

 

Others wont’s like/love us if they knew the truth.

Hide. Never tell. It is safer.

Forgiveness is never free. We must work to earn our forgiveness.

Confessing makes us indebted to the person.

Asking forgiveness is admitting guilt and a sign of weakness.

Come on. Technically we are not guilty. Look for a loophole.

Don’t admit guilt unless we are 100% wrong. 96% or even 5% does not count.

We may not be forgiven, so why bother.

The other person screwed up too. Let them confess first.

Forgiveness is over rated.

Confessing may ruin us.

These lies have no truth in them. Satan wants us to believe these lies because then we will walk in fear, and not in the light of forgiveness. Because then we will walk in the same old rut, and not newness and change. Because it will cut us off from community and help. Because when we are consumed with guilt and shame our eyes remain focused on our self, not on a God who redeems us, loves us, and pours abundant grace on our souls.

Pride is one of the main culprits that hinders our relationships with others. It is our pride that causes us to defend our actions. Justify and explain why we are in the right and turn and blame them for their wrong doing. Pride separates us from others. It causes us to lie to them and our self. It keeps us from doing the right thing in the relationship. It stops us from pursuing reconciliation, compromise, and forgiveness. Pride holds onto our pain and then we in turn lash out in pain.

Often, we know we are wrong, but it is our pride that keeps us from doing the right thing.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.How to deal with pride in a relationship; tips for chipping away the stumbling block of pride:

 

1. Strive for humility. Humility is seeing our self and God as we both really are. He is the only perfect one. We are the sinful one. And yet God want to have a relationship with us. He wants to parent us. Love us. Give us all sorts of good gifts. Call us beloved. When we realize that we are dependent on God and his forgiveness and grace (which he freely gives), that creates in us a desire to change and grow.

2. Take responsibility. It is so much easier than explaining why we didn’t really do something everyone knows we really did. Making excuses that make no sense, or trying to argue that it was really was someone else’s fault is just plain nonsense. Stop stepping away and instead take responsibility. People will be relieved, and our trust ratings will soar.

3. Just do it. Practice apologizing; it will become easier. Start with little things. Move to bigger things. Or do it the other way. Once you have confessed a big thing, other confessions may seem easier.

I remember the day I confessed to a big thing (Yes, I said the words out loud that I was not perfect!) My heart was racing, my palms sweaty. All the spit in my mouth had turned to dust bunnies. I knew my voice would crack. I knew my world would fall apart. But I did it. I squeaked out the words. And guess what? I survived. The world did not collapse. My heart kept beating. And of course, no one died of surprise. They already knew it. And still loved me.

I kept confessing. And it got easier.

The same will happen for us if we keep apologizing when we need to. The silly thing is, when we confess our wrong doing, we are usually not surprising anyone. Often everyone sees we need to confess before we realize it. If we have yelled at the family, they all know we yelled at them. There is no surprise when we say we should not have yelled at them and ask their forgiveness. Often there is just gratitude from them that we took responsibility for our actions, and now they can stop telling us we were wrong.

4. Keep it Simple. Forget the perfect words. Just say: “I am sorry for  – – – -, please forgive me.”

Remember, if we justify or make excuses, then we are no longer apologizing. “I am sorry I hurt your feelings, but you need to be nicer to me,” does not qualify. When we add a “but,” we are often justifying and blaming them. Saying, “I am sorry you feel that way,” is also not an apology. It is really telling them that their feelings are wrong.

After we say we are sorry, we can also offer some sort of restitution or help, if appropriate. “I know I didn’t mow the lawn like I said I would. Can I now clean the bathroom for you?”

 

Remembering what’s important.

 

I can’t say that I don’t still let my pride get the best of me. I do. But my husband was right. We are easier to love when we acknowledge we are human. When we admit our mistakes. 

It has taken me a long time, but I have learned that despite my aversions to it, confession is good for my soul. It helps restore relationships, keeps pride in check, stop the blaming and justifying of my actions, and passes grace and forgiveness out to others and myself.

So, go ahead.

Confess when necessary.

Apologize quickly.

Abundant grace awaits.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What lies of pride do you believe?

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.

 

When Was Your Last Playdate?

 

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.I shall be forever grateful to Mrs. Smith.

She was the first person who invited my husband and I over after we were married.

It was a time of great transition. We hadn’t been married long and were busy setting up our apartment and life in a new city. It felt like we belonged nowhere. We no longer fit into the single category. And while we were married, we didn’t have kids and we didn’t feel accepted into the married category. Besides, what did we even know about marriage? Nothing.

One day after church Mrs. Smith invited us out for a picnic with her husband and their three kids. Nothing fancy. But it felt wonderful. Like someone had noticed us in the new church we had been attending for several months. Like someone had recognized us now as a married couple.

We sat in the park that day, chatting, eating sandwiches and pasta salad under the sun breaks of Seattle’s weather.

I remember her telling me that it can take awhile to feel like you fit in once you are married.

It felt like she was reading my mind.

She asked how we met. Joked about their last fight. Corrected the children and their eating habits. In short, they let us into their life for the afternoon. They made me feel like you didn’t have to have it all together or be a perfect wife or mom before you were accepted into their inner circle. Instead we could be real. Not have all the answers or be an expert.

I left the picnic feeling rejuvenated.

But I was still young. And I didn’t fully appreciate Mrs. Smith. I was busy. Had things to do. Friendships were not a priority. They were something I took for granted. Something I would have more time for when life slowed down.

Girlfriends drifted in and out of my life. We moved. Moved again. And again. And I got older and began to appreciate and seek female friends. Began to see their importance. Realized that life is easier when we have companions to lift us, help us, and bounce ideas against.

 

The importance of girlfriends. Hint: Life is easier with girlfriends.

 

Ever go though a hard time without friends next to you?

I have. That time is harder. Longer. Lonely.

I don’t want to do that again. I want to be able to call in the troops and get life giving support. I want help carrying my burdens and someone to dance with me during the joy.

Don’t try and do life alone. It is lonely. Scary. And no fun.

Seek out friendships. Girlfriends. A community that can support you and that you can give back to.

Life is pleasanter when shared.

Start with one friend. Then add another. Then another.

Over the years I have met other women like Mrs. Smith. Women who encourage you, listen to you, share their life and struggles with you, and accept you as you are. In my earlier years, they took the initiative, because I was too scared and trying to appear perfect.

They have taught me that I don’t have to pretend to have it all together. That pretending to be perfect is a waste of time. That with them I can be my real self. Admit my mistakes. My shortcomings. We can laugh over frustrations and days gone wrong. And their friendship is there no matter what. Grace far exceeds their judgement.

They don’t come across in a preachy manner, but through example. Using their stories. Their openness. Their friendship.

These are the kind of friendships we need.

The kind of women we need to surround ourselves with.

The kind of women we need to be. Especially to other women in our sphere.

If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.

That is the beauty of community where we can be honest and share.

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.

Commit to making and keeping girlfriends.

 

But this is going to require a time commitment. It requires leaving our kids, husbands, blankets and Netflix, and our to-do lists for a few hours here and there and making time for connecting. For play dates. For having some girl time.

Some girl dates will seem just like play, rest, or relaxation.

Some will seem like real work was done. Heavy. Maybe even serious.

We need both. So, don’t worry.

We can’t wait for others to schedule these times for us. We need to take the initiative. Realize that our girl dates are breathing life into us and that gets transferred to those in our life.

As mothers we are setting an example for our daughters about the importance of girlfriends.

We need to quit making excuses and find some other serious girlfriends who are ready to live in community. Ready to share, be honest, and hand out encouragement in large doses.

We can not expect the men in our lives to meet all out talking needs, listen to us for hours on end, and just plain meet our girly needs to connect on a deeper level with another female. Nor can we meet all their male friendship needs.

Being a wife is hard. Mothering takes endurance. Life is overwhelming. Dealing with work and all its stress is exhausting.

Don’t try and do it all on your own.

Gather together with others like and unlike you. Connect. Bond. Be honest. Struggle together. Share. Solve. Fight and reconnect. Encourage. Inspire. Love.

Encourage (don’t judge).

Compliment and celebrate (instead of competing).

Help (don’t hinder).

And don’t forget to sprinkle grace liberally around.

 

Things to Remember.

 

We are all at different stages, have learned different things, know different things, and need different things. We each have so much to give and share.

Regularly gather with girlfriends. Potential girlfriends. Long term girlfriends.

Don’t wait until you have it all figured out, know how to do it better than others, or almost reach perfection. Or you will miss out on a lot of fun years. And may never join in.

Just be a Mrs. Smith and invite someone to your simple picnic.

Connect.

Value each other.

Do life together. In community.

The way it is meant to be.

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

Need another article on female friendship and how we need to stop making excuses and seek out girlfriends? The Friendship Moment of Change


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What have been some of your best girlfriend date ideas? 

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

We need girlfriends. If we all make connections with each other and share our struggles. Our lessons learned. Our stories, we will be helping each other and healing our self at the same time.