I’ve always thought of myself to be a very loving person. I have strong feelings of love for my family and friends and care about them all very much. But I learned a very powerful lesson somewhere along the way about the difference between loving conditionally and unconditionally. And while I had truly loved many people in my life I was doing so with a faulty foundation that was contaminated with judgment and expectations, loving them on the surface but fostering feelings of disapproval deep down inside. One day the reality of my conditional love exploded in front of me, forcing me to re-examine my role in the relationships I had and giving me the opportunity to commit myself to changing the way that I love people.
Nobody is perfect. People have some amazing qualities that are easy to love but they also have some not-so amazing qualities. . . and we should love them anyway! Accepting a person from head to toe, inside and out, just exactly the way they are is what it means to love someone unconditionally and it takes great maturity and a big heart to do this. Let go of any internal standards you may have created for people (including yourself) and love them for the unique individuals that they are.
Now this isn’t to say that we should all be completely content with our bad habits and character flaws. We should always push ourselves and those around us to grow and become better people. But when we do this it should come from a place of love, of genuinely wanting that person to be the best version of themselves so THEY can be the happiest they can be, not because WE think they need to change or improve.
I encourage you to make the same commitment that I have made and love everyone in your life unconditionally. From those days when everything is working great and everyone is happy to those days that everything goes wrong and emotions are distraught, love them just the same. Fill your heart with nothing but love for the people in your life and let this be the only feeling you have towards them in any situation. Love them no matter what.