“Friendship: Believe in them; Encourage them to grow; Support them; Love them unconditionally”
What is Self Less love?
Selfless love is the act of loving someone without regard to yourself. It is when you love someone because they are special to you, not because they give you something in return. Another term I use is unconditional love. You don’t love them because they visit you weekly, or because they do special favors for you. You love them for them, regardless of what they do.
The best example I have seen is a parent’s love for their children. Regardless of how much they kick and scream, the parent still loves the child. It doesn’t mean you don’t get frustrated or upset, it just means that you want the best for them no matter what.
For good examples of selfish love, all you have to do is watch a wedding being planned. You know the story, a non-guest feels slighted for not being invited. A wedding is the couple’s day, not everyone else’s. If you find yourself questioning your friendship to someone because they didn’t include you, you are practicing selfish love.
Why is it so rare?
Outside of a parent’s love for their children selfless love is rare. It is rare because it requires a certain disregard for your own feelings. ‘If you were my friend you would…’ this is a type of selfish love. You are expecting something in return for your love. Expecting something is natural to me. I often have to fight the feelings of expectation when dealing with my loved ones. It is extremely difficult to love someone without regard for self, and that is what makes it so rare.
Selfless love, doesn’t mean you ignore your feelings when you are angry, or upset. The relationship should still work both ways. One way relationships won’t work, and you should probably avoid them. Relationships should be fulfilling, and there should be a two way give and take process.
How to practice it
Here are some ways I suggest practicing selfless love.
Forgiveness. By forgiving them when they do something wrong, you give up resentment and embrace love. Love and resentment are opposites, one can’t exist while the other one is present.
Happiness. Be happy that they are happy. Your friends should be happy. Even if it’s not with you.
Don’t Expect. When you do something for someone, don’t expect anything in return. Give because you love them.
No If-Then. If they… then I… is a prime example of conditional love. Eradicate it from your relationships, and they will blossom.
Understand. Understanding is key when working with others. Put yourself in their shoes to help understand the situation.
Communicate. You must communicate. Be open and honest and the relationship will thrive. If you do the opposite it will shrivel up.
Start small. As with anything, we start small. Start loving your close friends, and then go to acquaintances, and then strangers.
Selfless love is one of the most amazing things you can give to others. If you can practice it and succeed, your life will be on a whole new level.