"Groundless hope, like unconditional love, is the only kind worth having." John Perry Barlow
Aaron Ben-Zeév begins his Psychology Today post, titled Should Love Be Unconditional?, with the above quote. It makes me think about the ways that I love. I sometimes think that love should be sacrificial but am reminded of how the focus is then on the one who sacrifices not on the unconditional aspect of love. An excerpt from what Ben-Zeév writes:
Ideal love is unconditional in the sense that it is unaffected by the conditions of reality-reality cannot change it. Accordingly, it disregards reality and considers love to be beyond the reach of mundane altering events. It is also unconditional in the sense of willingness to give everything to the beloved.I like the connection he makes to reality. Unconditional love is not an ignorant love. It is not a love that enables bad behavior. It is, as a wise pastor once said, an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. It is a love that sees no one as an enemy. It is a love that sees the best in others. It is a love that unifies. It is a love that never fails.
We should characterize unconditional love in more moderate terms, seeing it as referring to love that endures despite unfavorable circumstances. In characterizing it thus, we do not require such love to totally disregard external circumstance, but rather to involve awareness of unfavorable circumstances as well as a profound wish and intention to prolong this love-sometimes, without even fully implementing it. In this concept of love, the lover does not disregard reality, but merely regards it as an obstacle to overcome or to bypass, or even one on which a compromise must be found. There is no ignorance here, merely an evaluative faith and the hope of overcoming such obstacles.