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wundayatta's avatar

How do you, personally, believe that you are innately and unconditionally lovable?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) December 28th, 2009

I know that people love me. I believe I should be loved. I love my children unconditionally. But I never believe I am unconditionally lovable. I always feel like I’m on trial. If I don’t perform well enough, then I lose that love. If someone I love gets really angry at me, then they will kick me out the door the next day (if not the next hour).

Try to look inside yourself and see if you can identify what it is that gives you the knowledge you can be loved unconditionally. What allows you to believe you are loved unconditionally? Are there any life experiences that helped you come to this sense of entitlement? Where does this sense come from?

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66 Answers

marinelife's avatar

My acceptance of myself and self love are hard won.

I did a lot of therapy on the issue and a lot of group work.

I got some very effective help from the book Self Parenting.

Zen_Again's avatar

I am more like you in that way @daloon – but I know it exists as I do love my kids unconditionally.

HasntBeen's avatar

There are two kinds of “self”—fragmented and whole. The former is never good enough, the latter is never lacking. What happens with human beings (and produces no end of suffering) is that they lose touch with themselves as the latter and can only see the former. This produces a condition of chronic dissatisfaction, in which one is perpetually striving to become but never actually being. It always seems like life is going to start sometime out in the future, as soon as some condition is met. Life is conditional. You are conditional. Love is conditional.

But all the time, from the beginning, you are actually whole and life is actually whole. What’s going on is an illusion… the mind grasping on to the apparent solidity of the fragmented self (ego) and believing it’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth about you. When that happens, the recognition of wholeness is lost and seems unachievable.

In Buddhism, this is usually called “the illusion of separate self”... separate as in “cut off from its roots”, and the cure is to learn to see through the illusion… to recognize it as an illusion by observing how your own mind constructs that kind of self and maintains it. When you’ve watched that process up close enough times, you understand it and are able to recognize it as just the confused machinery that it is… and what’s left, in the background, is the natural sense of being which was obscured by preoccupation with ego.

eeveegurl's avatar

I feel the way you do, that I’m constantly on trial, being judged, by everyone except immediate family.

I guess in that sense, because my parents gave birth to me, because they stuck me on themselves, I feel unconditionally loved by them, no matter what mistake I might make, no matter what crimes I may commit. Even if they choose to never speak to me, I’m sure they will still love me unconditionally. I think it’s this non-choice that forces them to accept me unconditionally. And along those lines, I agree with @Zen_Again that I’d love my children unconditionally like that were I to have any.

smack's avatar

I don’t.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I know not everyone holds this view but I do not think love is unconditional and I do not think it should be – I love my husband because I respect him and he lives his life in an admirable way…I would not be with him if, all of a sudden, he behaved differently in a way that was morally reprehensible…the same with my kids…I tell them that I value their love and respect for me but it shouldn’t be based on thin air…I want to rather be loved based on something than nothing…and I will absolutely lose respect for my children if they ever rape or murder, etc. ...I might still love them, but it will be different

CMaz's avatar

Because I believe it.
That is all that matters to me, and it is true. :-)

Snarp's avatar

I wouldn’t even begin to know how to think about this. It’s never occurred to me to contemplate my lovability in any way.

dpworkin's avatar

Obsessive rumination about how you might possibly transgress and then be punished is a habit. It doesn’t do you any good, it might be doing you some harm, and you might want to consider dismissing those thoughts whenever you have them by reminding yourself that they are just transient ideas and aren’t real.

StupidGirl's avatar

Not. Nobody in their right mind would ever wanna live with me forever.

absalom's avatar

I won’t be able to answer this until someone loves me unconditionally.

Supacase's avatar

I don’t believe that I am. It is most possible by my mom or daughter, but I am not certain there is nothing I could do to lose their love. If not their love, at least their respect. Without respect, any remaining shadow of love would simply be out of obligation.

On the other hand, barring extreme and completely unimaginable circumstances, I am not someone who would ever do something so terrible that the above would ever happen.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I’m still breathing.

scotsbloke's avatar

I think I’m lovable but only when you get to know me, It’s a two way street for me, I find you have to work to be loved and to love too.
I dont think unconditional love is something to be bandied about (NOT saying anyone is doing that – just stating my views) unconditional love is the kind of love you have for a parent or child, possibly a spouse, I say possibly because what about those of us who are on our second or third spouses? do we unconditionally love our first wife/hubby? I doubt it.
I beleive I dont deserve to be loved, but I do work hard to try to earn it!

Futomara's avatar

I would have to say it has a basis in religious belief. For is it not religion that teaches us our God loves us unconditionally? And since, deep down, we all know God doesn’t really exist, do we not quest for this unconditional love?

Yes, I am atheist. And, I have no need or desire to be unconditionally loved. However, it’s not my religious beliefs that lend to this lack of desire. It’s my own ego. I just don’t care what others think of me. Does that make me selfish? Or narcissistic? Perhaps.

Truth be known, I am a legend in my own mind.

ucme's avatar

Because i’m so cute lovable & loving. You get out what you put in.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If you are lucky,your parents would have loved you unconditionally.Perhaps this is where this idea comes from.If you still insist on persuing this Holy Grail,I suggest getting a beagle;)

Cruiser's avatar

The only unconditional love I ever experienced is the love for my kids, from my kids and my dogs. Any other “love” is tainted someway or another.

Judi's avatar

Most people here know that I don’t give out answers Like this unless the question is specifically asked.
What makes me lovable unconditionally is the Grace of God.
On my own I will always fall short.
Christ shared his goodness, worthiness, “rightness” with me.
I am loved unconditionally and I don’t get credit or glory, because it certainly is not because I am good enough. I screw up all the time.

J0E's avatar

Unconditional love is exactly that, unconditional. It doesn’t matter what I do.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

There are some people that I DO love unconditionally. There isn’t anything they could do that would make me stop loving them. And I know I’m unconditionally loved by many. If love has conditions attached to it, I don’t want it. I’m just me. Take me or leave me. My package comes with the good, the bad & the ugly. But I believe you have to love & accept yourself first. I have two sides of my life & I accept them both.

Daloon, I think that’s where you short yourself. You don’t love & accept yourself & you should. You are a loving person & you deserve to be loved back.

Silhouette's avatar

I don’t have to look any deeper than my heart. I know in my heart I am worthy of love. I am a good person. I reap what I sow. I love unconditionally and that is what is returned to me.

Judi's avatar

I agree with @J0E . “Unconditionally” and “Lovable” are almost an oxymoron. “Lovable”, is somehow worthy of love, and “unconditional” says regardless of worthiness.

Futomara's avatar

OMG @Judi proved my point!

philosopher's avatar

I am a hard worker . I never give up until I am successful. I am committed to the happiness of those I love. I am strong and resilient in the face of those who attempt to take advantage of my family and friends. I am always there for my family.
I investigate things and find solutions . My Husband and I are a team.

HumourMe's avatar

@HasntBeen Great answer, really interesting and some good advice too.

AnnieB's avatar

I can love unconditionally (only my children and parents)...and so, I understand how I can be loved unconditionally…because I am a daughter, and a mother.

Justnice's avatar

I can love unconditionally but I don’t think I desearve to be loved unconditionally. I’m just not that nice of a person. I do horrible things

Cotton101's avatar

Ummm..very good question! Well, wrote an answer and deleted it. Read your question several times.

My only experience with unconditional love toward me, is the love that feel from my grandchildren. That is it…oh well, my Spunky (my dog who died recently) always gave unconditional love..oh course, we all know that is a given with our animals.

My love for my mother is unconditional…know what she went through when we were kids and that you never forget. Your friends, other family members, etc.,I always feel like there are strings attached. Like you said, you are on trial. Bottomline, my philosophy with them, be nice at all times and let the “chips fall where they fall!”

Still, don’t feel comfortable with this answer, but the best I can do today.

Thank you for the invite Daloon!

jerv's avatar

I am as cuddly as a porcupine, so I’d say no.

Cotton101's avatar

@Justnice horrible is a HUGE word! We all make mistakes….just wanted to make you feel better. Horrible is what people do to go to prison! Cut yourself some slack my friend. But, you made a very good point.

faye's avatar

I think my kids love me no matter what, but I don’y believe in unconditional love between 2 adults in a relationship. The conditions are probably nonverbal and maybe subconscious but I think they are there for every couple. @daloon, i have periods of thinking like that, too. Thankfully something comes along to remind me that I am kind and then I’m okay.

DominicX's avatar

I pretty much have the same outlook as @ChazMaz. I just have a different mindset. I do believe that I am unconditionally lovable (at least by my parents). It might come from my parents, it might come from being Catholic and being taught that God has this unconditional love, I’m not sure. But I do feel that way. However, for me, it doesn’t give me the freedom to just do anything, no matter how it might hurt someone else.

downtide's avatar

I don’t believe that anyone does love me unconditionally. I’m not even sure that unconditional love even exists for me – I can always think of circumstances that would affect it.

wundayatta's avatar

It seems like it would be really neat. A chance to relax from having to be me all the time, and just be the me I am when I“m not worried about it. It would take the proverbial weight off my mind. I think I would be willing to try more things or take more risks if I felt that way.

Thanks all for your answers, so far. It has helped me a lot.

Cotton101's avatar

hey Daloon, do that…just be you and let the “chips fall where they fall!” You will be a LOT happier!

ninjacolin's avatar

You get whatever you deserve. If someone loves you right this moment, it’s because you did something to deserve it. If someone doesn’t love you right this moment, it’s because you didn’t do something to deserve it. If someone stops loving you right this moment, it’s because you did something to deserve them to stop.

Love is a belief. People “believe” they love you. It happens to be a fact that people can’t simply choose to believe whatever they want about you, they can only believe according to the information they’ve processed about you.

If every day you walk up to a person and kick them in the shins… they’re going to remember that and they’re not going to love you very much. If however you leave people with positive memories about you then they’re going to remember those good things about you and they won’t be able to help it.

Whatever memories you leave with someone is what they will be stuck believing you represent to them. What this means is that if you want to be loved, you can go ahead and GET loved by leaving positive memories in someone elses head about you.

Yes, people can rationalize your good actions away to form a new belief that you are insincere. But they can only do that if there is a reason for it. So, don’t give them a reason for it. :) Don’t leave them with any reason to doubt your sincerity. In fact, leave them with a memory that you’re the type of person who they can say anything to without worry. that way, if ever they do have reason to doubt you, you’ll have programmed in a “return to base” function: they’ll come talk to you about it and you’ll have a new chance to give them more information to prove to them that you are sincere and purely awesomely lovable.

With all your relationships perfectly set up, you’ll never have to worry about being loved ever again because you’ll know that anyone who has an issue with you will just come talk to you! So, as long as no one is talking to you about it, you’ll know you’re loved by those people!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

My parents showed me unconditional love throughout my childhood and adolescence. Nothing was more influential in the my development of a sense of worthiness and of a belief that others could love me too. I believe my children have reached this point in their development. I continue to love them and show my love and respect for them as adults.
I have not been as good a parent as I had hoped I could be but I believe I did enough none the less. Time will tell.

Fyrius's avatar

(secretly replies without reading the thread)

I think unconditional love is a rare privilege I do not believe I have done anything to deserve… I certainly couldn’t ask it of anyone.
And that’s fine.
I’m perfectly content with conditional love, under reasonable conditions, which I would say is the most common kind of love. I think it’s the wiser kind – certainly I could do despicable things that even I think would make me undeserving of love. But since these are also the kind of things I wouldn’t ever want to do, I am not worried.

It gets worrisome if the people whose love you value have other ideas than you about what makes someone a bad person.

CaptainHarley's avatar

None of us “deserves” to be loved, especially not unconditonally. The only thing we can do is make ourselves read for when love comes our way. A willingness to accept others for who and what they are, instead of trying to change them, is a start.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have never considered myself or anyone else unconditionally lovable. I have never had children so I don’t know about that perspective. I don’t know if my parents loved me unconditionally, I never gave it any thought. I don’t believe I ever gave them any reason not to love me. I did have a vicious violent alcoholic brother who made life hell for my parents and me. I don’t know if his behavior killed their love for him or not but they sure didn’t like him a lot of the time and I guess that is different than love. I think it is easier to love my dog unconditionally than another human, they’re too treacherous.

pearls's avatar

@Silhouette Very good answer. I can echo that same thing about myself.

Blondesjon's avatar

Because I truly don’t care if I am loved or not and there are folks who still love me.

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon You may not care, but in your secretly soft inside, you really do care about others, even if you don’t care if they love you. Which gets you the love you don’t care about. I know of several people who would be willing to take your place, if you truly don’t care about the love you get.

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon . . . I never said I don’t care about others silly. I would also gladly trade with another so that they could feel what I feel. There is Love everywhere if you are willing to just quit caring and accept it.

CorwinofAmber's avatar

I desire to survive and assist with the continuity of humanity. Problem is; the nagging conscience that I’ve developed. I’ve expectations for the future, and urge society to mature and partake in mutual benevolence; assist the downtrodden. One can hope and dream, eh? ;)

phillis's avatar

I Thank God and myself that my own self-worth does not rely on fickle humans when they shadowbox with themselves. Growing up in an abusive environment almost cemented that for me, permanently. I had to make a decision…a very black and white decision (isn’t is great? I mean, how often do we get something handed to us that is so clear?). I had to decide once and for all whether I wanted to be happy. And please believe me when I tell you that the phrase “a wing and a prayer” went through my mind more times than I care to admit.

I had no faith WHATSOEVER that real happiness existed. Come to think of it, I didn’t have faith in much of anything. No hope, no faith and no love. Certainly no unconditional love. That’s fairy tale garbage. Or it was only for a few people, and I was not a part of that group. But when I opted to reach for happiness and joy with both hands, things slowly began to turn around for me. What I didn’t realize fully was that, while I was reaching for happiness (going on blind faith that it existed, no less) I was also spurning those things that did not compliment happiness. It was a single-minded goal that identified and isolated only positive or helpful things that served to propel me toward my intended result. I wanted the answers as to whether this stuff existed, one way or the other. I was prepared for whatever that answer was, but I HAD to know, because life really sucks wthout them. Maybe part of my success is that I love a good mystery.

Hey, whatever it takes.

Cotton101's avatar

@phillis think you would be called a “self-made” lady! Can relate….as when i was growing up, my mom worked as a waitress 7 days a week. We lived in the getto. My dad, who lost his mind, on the beaches of Normandy, never knew the man…sad…. My brother and i spent our days chasing some kind of ball. Long story short, got a basketball scholarship from Ole Miss. Got my degree and made sure my brother got his degree and the rest is History.

So, bottomline, we did not have it given to us. We did the old-fashion way, we earned it..

From my experience growing up, really appreciate what my mom did to provide for my brother and myself. Working 7 days a week as a waitress is no easy task. So, my love for her is unconditional love. When you see the pains of working those kind of hours for myself and my brother, that gets your attention. Also, she always was a lady, dressed like lady, and never once was a strange man in our house. She was a well-respected lady in a small town.

So today, with her illness, she comes first!

Janka's avatar

I am not sure there is such a thing as an “unconditional” love. All love is conditional by the very virtue of being attached to a person: we are loved because of who we are, which is a very specific and very important condition.

That said, I believe I am lovable because I am a person. Look around you, and you will quite soon figure that the qualities of a person have very little to do with whether someone loves them or not. All it seems to take is to be a person, and some luck.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

No. I am not worth such.

phillis's avatar

@Cotton101 Thanks! That is exactly what I am. My hat is off to yer mom. What a great lady.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not very comfortable with being lovable. I tell myself that’s because if I lose a love, it is devastating. But that doesn’t make sense because I’ve been devastated a number of times in my life, and I always went back for more.

The notion of worth is sort of a red herring, too. I know I use it all the time because it’s convenient to say I’m not worth anything or I don’t deserve anything. I don’t think it’s about worth, though. When I look at myself with what I believe are objective eyes, I see someone worthy of whatever.

I think there’s something more intrinsic than worth and deserving and esteem and love. Some essence of being a person and wondering not whether one is worthy of appreciation. No, that’s not right either. It is perhaps some essence of being alive, where one knows one’s life needs no excuse. For the rest of us, we are constantly looking for one excuse or another.

Cotton101's avatar

@phillis thank you MsP!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

To expand on my previous remark: recent events have confirmed my self-assessment and underscore the necessity of actively discouraging anyone from attempting even friendship, much less love. Some people are destined by nature to remain solitary. Any attempt to change that basic nature is harmful to themselves and possibly others.

‘Way off topic again. My apologies.

Just_Justine's avatar

I am not sure unconditional love exists, maybe if we are lucky enough to be born to parents that wanted us, we will experience it then. Perhaps we go through life seeking it, never finding it. I probably would change unconditional to acceptable. Meaning the person accepts me at my core. For who I am, for what I have been through for what I might go through but to behave badly during these phases is not (in my mind) acceptable.

Probably the only person that can give me unconditional love is me, and even then wow! that is hard. I am so critical of myself. But that was the reason of your question I think to make us think about it.

I don’t like a lot of the things I do, I like lot’s about myself too. But sadly I am my own worse critic, I wish I could give myself the same none judgemental stance I serve to others. I really don’t know the answer to this question it is such a good one (question). :-)

phillis's avatar

@Just_Justine Well said! You hit a nerve with me. Self-love is such a hard thing for us to learn. It’s the very thing we need to know the most, and the one thing that most parents would have loved teaching us, but they couldn’t because they didn’t know how to love themselves, either. It puts parents ina more human-like perspective, when I look at it like that. It makes them easier to forgive.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

I have no sense of entitlement. I’m not innately and unconditionally lovable any more than anyone else. I can’t answer how, because I simply don’t.
-Dan

TheOnlyException's avatar

I love my _____ unconditionally. But I never believe I am unconditionally lovable. I always feel like I’m on trial. If I don’t perform well enough, then I lose that love. If someone I love gets really angry at me, then they will kick me out the door the next day (if not the next hour).

This is me. Entirely and completely. I have had to force myself to accept that I am unconditionally loved by many many wonderful, beautiful people. I have messed up so much in recent months and been what I thought a heavy burden on my loved ones, my friends and my family. I feel like I am not good enough for them and I tell myself every day that I will work harder to deserve their love. Be kinder and more patient with them. I never am. Yet they love me continually and honestly, I am stunned. I love them back, but they are better family/friends to me than I am to them.

What I do to convince myself that I am unconditionally loved is I look at everything they have ever done for me, the small acts of kindness to the bigger things. Even little items they have gotten me, funny birthday cards with inside jokes all personalised, a hug when a hug wasn’t asked for, or just a funny hello and a smile in the hallway.

They do all of these things because they enjoy having me in their lives, just as much as I enjoy having them in mine. I love them and they love me. They wouldn’t bother otherwise. And neither would I.

wundayatta's avatar

@TheOnlyException People do a lot of things out of obligation, not love. Or is that love—feeling an obligation?

OneMoreMinute's avatar

My Granny gave me unconditional love when I was a kid.
There wasn’t anything I could do to get her to love me more.
There wasn’t anything I could do to get her to love me less.
I could not control how much she loved me.
She loved me without my sayso.
She controlled her love for me.
It was constant. Like an oak tree. In fact, I named my big tree on my yard Granny.
This is the best love I think. It is Golden.

you said, “It seems like it would be really neat. A chance to relax from having to be me all the time, and just be the me I am when I“m not worried about it. It would take the proverbial weight off my mind. I think I would be willing to try more things or take more risks if I felt that way.”

That is exactly what it’s like to be on the receiving end.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@wundayatta This sounds odd, but I can just tell when someone is doing something because they have to and not because they want to. Maybe once or twice when I have been upset I’ve felt that from one or two people, but otherwise, everything, happy and sad, we are ecstatic that we are in each others lives.

snowberry's avatar

God loved me when people didn’t.

zensky's avatar

I am more like you in that way @daloon – but I know it exists as I do love my kids unconditionally.

I said it two years ago – I’ll say it again.

smilingheart1's avatar

By God and by a few people because they keep coming back for more. :)

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