Here are Some Definitions Of Love:
- A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
- A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
- Sexual passion.
- Sexual intercourse.
- A love affair.
- An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
- A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.
- An expression of one's affection: Send him my love.
- A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
- The object of such an enthusiasm
And here is a Definition Of Unconditional Love, as defined by Wikipedia. Unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of one's actions or beliefs. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers. By contrast, unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. It has also been used in a religious context to describe God's love for humankind through the forgiveness of Christ.
And a few more necessary definitions:
Condition is a premise upon which the fulfillment of an agreement depend. In this case, Conditional Love, as compared to Unconditional Love, comes with strings of expectation attached, though this is not a bad type of love, when it is balanced.
And finally, Expectation is defined as:
1. the state of expecting or of being expected
2. something looked forward to, whether feared or hoped for3. belief that someone should behave in a particular way
Now that we have looked at some definitions (I know its always the driest part of the discussions), lets look at what it means in the context of being an Empath. To do this we must look at some of the fatal mistakes Empaths make when they come upon the emotion of Unconditional Love, or what they mistake as Unconditional Love.
Fatal Mistake #1
- Unconditional Love is altruistic, which means it always begins with other people. Its true that Unconditional Love is altruistic. But in reality, Unconditional Love must start with self (self love and acceptance of self) and work its way outward toward others, or it is simply offered to stroke one's own dwindling ego.
Fatal Mistake #2
- For there to be Unconditional Love, I must give of myself until it hurts or there is nothing left of me to give. This is a fatalistic mentality, and not altruistic in nature. It rises out of the need to be needed. It stems from the perception that there is nothing worthwhile about self and about the life, or lack there of, of self to recommend them to others. So their value is measured in what they can offer to others.
Fatal Mistake #3
- Offering others Unconditional Love, has given me new found purpose in my life. This too is a mistake. Why, you ask? Finding your purpose solely in helping others, without first healing the self, is a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. When a person fails to show the proper appreciation that is expected for this seemingly altruistic act of kindness and benevolence, it will rip the giver's ego to shreds. It can bring rise to feelings of anger, inadequacy, and false superiority. "How dare they not realize what I have done for them, after I've put so much time and effort into helping them out of the kindness of my heart. I didn't ask for anything in return, and I didn't even get a single word of thanks." Do you see how ironic that statement is? Its also very telling, isn't it?
Fatal Mistake #4
- In order to offer others Unconditional Love, I must set aside all of my beliefs and feelings, denying all of who I am to care for others. Unconditional love doesn't come and go on the whims of personal prejudices and feelings. It simply is. It is constant and true, despite all of the things which can cloud our perception and judgment. It will not ask of you , what you do not ask of others when you offer them Unconditional Love. It will not ask you to change or deny yourself, just as you do not ask others to change or to deny themselves when you offer them this kind of love.
Fatal Mistake #5
-Only a truly enlightened being can offer others Unconditional Love. So this is what I must strive to be. Big mistake here. Anyone can give another person Unconditional Love, whether enlightened or not. It can come in the more basic form of tolerance for others diverse beliefs and ideas. And it can rise to heights beyond that, in the forms of true love and acceptance, despite any perceived differences. Enlightenment is a noble thing to strive for in the long run, but in the here and now, Unconditional Love can still be offered simply by stretching out a hand to the person next to you and smiling.
Fatal Mistake #6
-Unconditional Dedication IS Unconditional Love. Unconditional Dedication refers to an act of the will irrespective of feelings. This can rise in someone who is a Caregiver or Caretaker for another person. In this instance, a person may consider they have a duty to stay with the other person and care for them, despite their own feelings of exhaustion, bitterness, and resentment. While Unconditional Love refers to an act of the feelings irrespective of will.
Fatal Mistake #7
- Emotional Burnout is a necessary and expected evil of Unconditional Love. This mistake hearkens back to many of the previous mistakes: giving till it hurts, setting aside consideration of one's own emotional well being for the sake of others, self sacrifice, martyrdom. It implies that one must suffer and walk through the bowels of Hell itself simply to offer others love. But one must ask themselves, is this really love, if it hurts this much? It can also bring rise to feelings of resentment and bitterness, for their own sufferings as compared to those they offer this form of love to. It can cause one to go from a mask of benevolence to one of cynicism in a single heartbeat. So this is a very tricky one to watch out for, because it is often times hard to pull oneself out of the muck of this mistake.
Unconditional Love & Empathy
Now that you know some of the mistakes we, as Empaths, are prone to make when we offer help to others, one must ask themselves what real Unconditional Love is. Simply put, it is the act of caring for others, without condition, expectation, or a need for praise and/or thanks. It simply is what it is, despite the differences and flaws we perceive in ourselves and others. It is constant and real, and promotes healing, growth, and a sense of oneness for both the giver and the receiver. And it, is what true empathy is all about.