Imagine that I tell you I love you. I smile at you, speak kind words to you, and perhaps even present you with a gift of some kind. Understandably, you enjoy this, as we all would. Five minutes later, however, I storm into the room describing a mistake that has been made, and while shaking my finger in your face and scowling with rage I say, “Are you the one who did this?!”
How loved do you feel now? That great feeling disappeared the moment I entered the room, didn’t it? We’ve all experienced moments like this. For most of us, in fact, this has been a lifelong pattern. This kind of “love” is very disappointing and unfulfilling, because it vanishes when we make mistakes and when we fail to meet the expectations of those who “love” us. This kind of “love” is conditional. There’s only one kind of love, however, that can fill us up, make us whole, and give us the happiness we all want: unconditional love or Real Love.
It is unconditional love or Real Love that we all seek, and somehow we recognize that anything other than that kind of love isn’t really love at all—it’s an imitation of the real thing. Unconditional love–Real Love–is so different from the kind of love most of us have known all our lives that it deserves both a name and definition of its own.
It’s also Real Love when other people care about our happiness unconditionally. With Real Love, people are not disappointed or angry when we make our foolish mistakes, when we don’t do what they want, or even when we inconvenience them personally. Real Love is unconditional.
When I use the word happiness, I do not mean the brief and superficial pleasure that comes from money, sex, power, or the conditional approval we earn from others when we behave as they want. Nor do I mean the temporary feeling of satisfaction we experience in the absence of immediate conflict or disaster. Real happiness is not the feeling we get from being entertained or making people do what we want. Real happiness is a profound and lasting sense of peace and fulfillment that deeply satisfies and enlarges the soul. It doesn’t go away when circumstances are difficult. It survives and even grows during hardship and struggle. True happiness is our entire reason to live, and it can only be obtained as we find Real Love and share it with others.