Unconditional love. Isn’t it what we all really want in life? Yet, how often does love truly come without conditions?I would venture to say that we all experience different types of love, which are dependent on the type of relationship (i.e.: spouse vs. parent/ child) and that the type of relationship will often play into the ability to truly form unconditional love.
I LOVE my pets because I think that they are an amazing gift and they teach us a phenomenal lesson in unconditional love. I have three cats, and while cats may have a bad rap when it comes to love (often described as aloof and noncommittal) I find that to be anything BUT the case with our three felines. In fact, most often our cats are on our laps purring to their heart’s content. I love the fact that these precious animals love us because we are. Yes, they do tend to demand food, water and a clean litter box, but in return for caring for them the love flows freely. There is nothing like the gaze of an adoring animal as they look into your eyes and purr or nuzzle into you. There are many animals capable of this bond… dogs, cats, horses, dolphins… and so many more.
I think that these animal connections are so special because they do not come with the conditions that relationships with humans often come with. It is easier for us to love an animal unconditionally than to love a human unconditionally – because we place many more expectations on the humans in our lives.
Additionally, I would say it is easier to love a child unconditionally (at least in today’s society) than a spouse…. you expect more from a spouse than your child. Many people (unfortunately) go into marriage with unrealistic expectations and when they have to work at the relationship they will often choose to leave, rather than put in the effort. Most people do not choose to leave their children – they love them no matter what they do… no matter how painful, and they work to try to support and assist them. Yet, we all create many conditions for our spouses. We give them ultimatums, we are full of conditions (in some cases the conditions are needed, if your spouse is hurting themselves or others).
I wonder what life would be like if we could interact with each other in a way similar to our pets. If we were able to give and receive and exchange that unconditional love that is so freeing. If we could allow that type of love to flow, what would relationships look like today?
I must admit, I have been accused of having a co-dependent relationship with my cat. We have been together for 14 years now. He came before my spouse and my children and he knows he holds a special place in my heart. He reciprocates by “killing” an array of stuffed animals for me each night, which he proudly announces at 3:00 a.m. as he places them outside my bedroom door. Love for loves sake….. I wish we could all experience it.
Today, 278 days ’til 40, I am thankful for the wonderful lessons my loving pets teach me. May I be open to the lessons they have to teach me and may I apply them in my relationships with others.