Even when it comes to love.
So I'm turning up the house lights a little. Straying away from my usual posts containing pictures of bacon or my self-promoting videos to talk about something I've recently learned and believe will make me a much better person.
There is no such thing as unconditional love.
The first step in coming to this conclusion was actually falling in love. Real love, not the love I thought I had the first time I got married. I was young and hadn't really ever been in love. Not knowing the feeling I had just assumed what I had was just that. It wasn't, it wasn't even close. A year after my first marriage I started again with a girl who I truly loved. Wow, love was fucking awesome... and painful. But it was love and I wanted more.
Over time I had a few more true love experiences. Each one with their own levels of awesomeness and full out failure. Pain, happiness, excitement... a bouncy castle of emotions.
So the first part of realizing what love was. I got that part. The next part was learning was love wasn't. This was harder than I thought. Especially when you assumed it was just something handed out to people with the same DNA.
Now before I go into this, I need to explain that what I'm telling you is a good thing. For one reason, you'll understand to never take anyone related to you for granted. Never assume someone loves you because you share branches on the family tree. Especially when you come from a fairly fucked up rooting system. Knowing this will do wonders.
I grew up my whole live assuming I loved my Mother. Because she was my mother. It was a strange relationship, I never got excited when she called, I never got giddy when she'd come to visit, I didn't have amazing stories of our times together. But she was my Mom and I just assumed I loved her. But then I started to question things, I remember the times we'd be out of touch for an argument or whatnot and how much happier I was. I didn't have phone calls contained with guilt, disapproval, or listening to her explain how she found joy in my siblings failures.
So I few years ago I came to conclusion.... a sad one. I didn't love my mother. I felt horrible, how was this possible? I was so distraught over my own failure as a son I reached out to my sister.
She felt the same way.
So it wasn't me, it wasn't my failure. It was just two people who opened their eyes and realized to put some thoughts into blind feelings. Were we the only ones to feel this way? Or were we the only ones willing to admit it.
But this wasn't such a horrible thing after all. Was it? I mean, if someone could treat me poorly on the assumption I'd love them forever, and be wrong. Was it possible the same curse would happen to me? Could I take my children's love for granted and just assume neglect still offered love?
I am a fairly good father. I recently moved two states North to be with my children so I'm not THAT horrible, but obviously I could always get better. But now I'm armed with knowledge. I now know that every day I need to earn my children's love. I need to carve a new path where I give what I get and always want more.
So take a moment and think of the people you love, think if you truly love them, and if they truly love you. And what you can do to assure that. Keep it and make it stronger.
Because there is no such thing as unconditional love. Unless you're stupid... and just don't care.