On being unconditional, rather than perfect

Dog and catWith a recent family wedding, I started thinking about love, commitment, relationships and the optimal conditions for all of the above to not only survive, but flourish. What does a perfect relationship actually look like? Does it exist?

I’m going to spare you the details of my mind-wanderings and simply say that this was a jumping-off point. I ended up landing on two questions that I think are applicable to long-term relationships, as well as the amount of effort we put into everything else in life: Is perfection really the ideal that we should strive for? And, if it’s not, what is?

I think it’s safe to say that perfection is not only unattainable, but we set ourselves up for failure and disappointment if perfection is our end-game. And, I think there’s something better and more satisfying that we can work toward – being unconditional.

But it’s not simple, and it could be just as unattainable as perfection. So, why aim for it??? What does “being unconditional” actually mean and what makes it different/preferable/more satisfying than aiming for perfection?

Here’s what I’m netting out with. In reaching for “unconditional” – in relationships, in business, in life – we let go of ourselves and focus on others more wholly – even if we simply try. Whereas, in striving for perfection, our focus is too closely on being good, great or better in relation to others, which puts us in positions of varying degrees of conflict, and confines us to measurement.

Instead, when we think, feel and act unconditionally, we aren’t in opposition to anything – we’re operating from a place of freedom and with a remarkable absence of limitations and conflict.

If I think about what “being unconditional” looks like, it involves being firm and unwavering in representing the people who mean the most to us – including ourselves. I also think that it means being flexible and respectful of others’ ideas so we can entertain different perspectives, and then have the clarity of mind and purpose to decide what makes our own ideas stronger and richer – and realizing that it’s ok when someone comes to a different conclusion than us. The last thought I had is about seeing the human side of every situation and responding in a way that dignifies everyone. And, I’m sure it means a lot more that I have yet to figure out.

What about you? What do you think about “being unconditional” and how would you describe it? Share your thoughts here, or find me on Twitter or Facebook.


  1. darleenw says:

    This has me thinking, as being unconditional to me is reserved for only a few in our lives. Such as we love our children unconditionally. However if someone else does us wrong, we cut them loose. But, I see your point of view with using unconditional to look more outward than inward. This might work, as long as we remember we cannot change anyone but ourselves, By being unconditional towards others, we can free ourselves of trying to change them. Maybe?

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and post a comment, Darleen!! 😀

      You’re right, we do typically reserve being “unconditional” or giving of ourselves unconditionally for our closest friends/family. My intent was to look at extending this concept out to whoever we deal with on a daily basis. What does this look like and mean? I’m still thinking about that, too. So far, I think it does mean that we don’t have to worry so much about being “right” or what our position is in relation to others. I think you hit the nail on the head in saying we can free ourselves from trying to change others, and focusing more on how we can help/understand/accept and then move on from there.

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