The Power of Unconditional

Especially when I’m hard to love

I’ve been loved unconditionally before, so that part isn’t new, but it’s different now. It began with love from my parents. That’s changed; not because there are conditions on their end, but because they don’t really know this person that my depressive illness has made me.

My last boyfriend loved me unconditionally. In that relationship, he was the one that was harder to love because of the challenges posed by his psychotic illness and the addiction that eventually took his life. After he passed, I wasn’t sure that I would ever find such unconditional love again.

Now, with the significant person in my life, I’m the one that’s hard to love.

I have a hard time trusting that there aren’t conditions on his end. It’s not that I don’t trust him, but I’m quick to extrapolate from the smallest hint of invalidation. I’m carrying around a sizable amount of emotional baggage from past hurts and betrayals that does its best to keep anyone in my life at arm’s length.

He and I have different problem-solving styles; he’s a fixer and I’m a validator.

That has caused us problems on a number of different occasions. Rather, it’s caused me problems, and he has to deal with the resulting emotional shitstorms. Those shitstorms are really not pretty, but somehow he’s still there.

I’ve thanked him for accepting the ugly side of me, and his response was that there is no ugly side.

Trust me on this, there is an ugly side, but somehow to him it’s not ugly.

When fear grips me, he reassures me he’s right there and not going anywhere. When I feel angry or invalidated, he asks how he can do more to support me.

It’s astonishing to me that someone can love me exactly the way I am. It’s not that I feel inherently unlovable, but to love and accept all of me seems like quite the Herculean feat.

I feel lucky. The world has taken so much away from me, and yet I was given this gift.

My experience has been that there usually are conditions. Lines in the sand. Things that just weren’t acceptable.

Yet this acceptance doesn’t back down when met with meltdown-induced anger. On more than one occasion I’ve told him that I hated him, but even that wasn’t enough to push him away.

I wonder what I can possibly do in return. I can meet unconditional acceptance with unconditional acceptance, but he is very easy to love. I can also be grateful every single day to have someone who sees me, who sees all of me, and isn’t going anywhere.

Written by

Mental health blogger | MH Nurse | Living with depression | Author of 3 books, latest is Managing the Depression Puzzle | mentalhealthathome.org

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