Love, when your northern star becomes embodied in someone's flesh. It's passionate, angry, ever-changing, and worth it.
Love goes through stages- some filled with energy and others with contentment. But the three basic stages have transcended time and philosophy: Romantic, realistic, and content love.
When you get hit by Cupid's arrow you can hardly see straight. You're sickeningly in love (consequently making everyone else feeling wildly uncomfortable). This "honeymoon phase" can last for days, weeks, even years, but inevitably that high will wear off. Some find this terrifyingly depressing, whereas, once you hit this point, this explanation becomes incredibly reassuring. However, you're inevitably going to grapple with the decision: do you keep going down this path together or do you split your separate ways? Neither one is a bad decision, but if you do decide to stick together you better be prepared for some grueling challenges.
Loving someone consistently requires effort. When you've come down from your "love sick" high you realize that giving back rubs and going to all of their favorite movies doesn't come quite as easily. Being a Generation Y adult has taught me that romance should be fast and furious. When things stop feeling good it's best to drop it and move to the next one. Why? Because we're young, life is short, and why settle when you can have something even better? This image seemed so glittering and bright during college. Why yes, I should be treated better. CYA! I began to even title my serial dating as a feminist act; I'm not putting up with your insensitivity and lack of attention. I graduated college and held that same mind frame as I entered the workforce, but, as often comes with time, I realized that this glittering and bright idea was becoming dulled and tarnished. I was beginning to see that this instant gratification plan wasn't working quite so well for me.
Love is hard, and what's even harder is loving unconditionally. The art of loving varies from person to person, but at its core is an understanding that love is a two party system. It's filled with compromise and trust. There will be times, more times than you care to count, that someone will hurt you, whether intentional or unintentional. Yet displaying your love, through thick and thin, is quite possibly more moving than the sweetest word or the softest kiss.
Being slow to anger is a perfect testament to the respect you hold for your partner. You may have quite a storm raging within, but when you practice and exude a state of clarity you're reinforcing your commitment in being understanding and patient.
Forgiveness is another tactic you can implement. Sometimes it may be for something small, like forgetting to take out the trash, and at other times it may be for something huge, like cheating. Whatever it is, if you're able to muster up forgiveness, or at least a veneer of forgiveness until you've had more time to process, your love will be heard at an incredible volume.
However, loving unconditionally isn't just based upon actions it's also your mental state of mind. Equip yourself with the knowledge that there may be times when you want to quit, but it's important to remember the good times amidst the bad. Don't let abandonment be an option. Having an accessible way out tends to stifle any sort of real effort. Expectations and standards are necessary, but it's crucial that these expectations aren't unattainable. If so, you're setting YOURSELF up for failure as you will never be satisfied.
We're Not Perfect
When I hear of loving unconditionally it sounds to me like it is only attainable for those who are able to love without any faults or hiccups, but loving unconditionally is not synonymous to being a perfect lover. There have been many times where I have been guilty of exploding on my partner or becoming increasingly aggravated at the way the toothbrush is placed in the medicine cabinet. The art behind loving unconditionally is the intentions you set for yourself. No matter how many times you may become irritated you keep pushing through and realize that we're all human. Loving unconditionally can be found in our sincere attempts to do what makes our partner happy and being quick to admit personal flaws. If we have failures than our person is going to have them too.
So, how can you love unconditionally? Never give up, keep yourself vulnerable, and be honest with yourself and your person. If you're able to love your partner at their worst that is the ultimate symbol of genuine love. Letting go of their flaws and embracing the big and little things that make them who they are will skyrocket your relationship from a realistic love to one that's filled with contentment.