What’s Love Got to Do with It?

It’s the summer of 1986. I’m standing in the living room of my newly inhabited apartment. I have just started my job as a computer scientist after graduating with my BS in Mathematics. Getting my degree and landing this job is the fulfillment of a huge goal that took me six years of working while going to night school. I should be delightfully happy, yet inside I feel something missing.

I lift my hands in the air, look to the heavens and pray, “God, please show me unconditional love.”

 

In meditation this morning, this prayer from 30 years ago flooded my awareness, giving rise to a reflection of my life journey. Little did I know back then how that simple, innocent prayer would launch my life into an amazing series of profound experiences to teach me unconditional love.

What does it mean to love unconditionally? So much of my own experience of love has been conditional. If I’m a good girl, I will be praised or get a special treat. If I get “As” in school, I’ll get money. If I am like my sisters, I’ll win my mother’s acceptance. If I dress or look a certain way, I’ll be liked. If I behave like what the preacher says, I’ll get into heaven. If I be the wife you want, you’ll love me.

What I took away from each of these experiences is that I am only lovable if I am a certain way, and to me that meant who I am at my core is not acceptable or lovable.

I’ve had numerous relationships over my life, yet still 30 years after my prayer, I find myself without a life partner. This morning’s reflection of these past 30 years revealed two painful truths. I don’t fully love and accept myself. I’ve done a mountain of personal work, and yet, still I find places where my harsh inner critic keeps me from fully embracing my unique self. This pattern of self-criticism reinforces my belief that I’m not good enough to be loved.

The other, even more painful realization, is that my unwillingness to face and break through the pain of not believing I’m lovable has kept me from having the depth of relationship I truly desire—one that allows me to open my heart to its most vulnerable and authentic depth of honesty about who I am.

Half-jokingly I’ve always said, “If you truly knew who I was, you’d run screaming.” On some subtle level, I was saying this to prepare myself for my partner—at some point in the relationship—to bolt. However, there is a harsh self-truth in that statement. I don’t unconditionally love myself. My heart remains guarded and my “acceptance system” filters and manipulates my behavior to avoid the pain of not being good enough. It keeps me in fear of losing the conditional love I believe the other person has for me. It sabotages my relationships.

 

The truth is, it’s what we believe about ourselves and about our partner that keeps us trapped in this torturous conditional love cycle. And quite likely, the pattern of accepting conditional love is playing out in our partner as well. It becomes an unconscious pact—if you accept and love me, I’ll accept and love you. This keeps us trapped in conditional love that establishes lovability only from the other in relationship. That inevitably sets us up for disappointment and manipulating behavior, never experiencing the deep acceptance we so long for.

One of my great teachers, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, said, “All love is directed towards the Self.” When I first heard that, my insides bristled as that sounded so selfish and narcissistic, but upon reflection this morning, I think I finally get it. It is the unconditional love of myself—the brilliant parts and the wounded parts—that sets me free to express who I truly am in the world, allows me to unconditionally love others, and opens the door to the depth of love and joy in relationship and in life that I so deeply long for.

It’s a journey to love myself—unconditionally.

Fortunately, there is a way to accelerate the journey to unconditional love so it doesn’t take 30 years of painful experiences. The revolutionary Human Design System reveals who we truly are—our authentic self before conditioning took over and changed our self-perception. When I discovered my Human Design, it acknowledged what I had always known about myself, but resisted because I believed was unacceptable. I began to embrace the amazingly unique being that I am and to unravel the conditional love I adopted. As a certified Human Design Practitioner, I now help others in their journeys to unconditionally love themselves, just as they uniquely are. If you share my prayer and long to end the pain of conditional love, please reach out. I’d be delighted to help you with your journey to acceptance and unconditional love. Use this link to schedule a time to speak with me. I’d be honored to help you fulfill your prayer.