A financial planner asked one of his clients while he was doing up their portfolio “What is your retirement plan?” The man answered without any hesitation, “My son”. It gives a whole new meaning to the word unconditional love. The son has to “earn” the love of his parents and the baby boy’s little shoulders at birth have already been burdened with the future of taking care of his parents. To further drive the point home, daughters are also loved but with a feeling that one day, she will leave home. So there is no need to spend too much on her education or invest on her. Let her future husband do it. Times are changing but this is prevalent in many families. Loving a child with a future expected reaction is akin to building a gilded cage, beautifully decorated and keeping the child within its boundaries. The cage looks good and the child is mentally programmed to do as per the parents’ wishes after adulthood.
We do not have children to be our safety cushion. We have children to experience the joy of parenthood, to give our very best to them and to see them fly away ultimately as they seek their own futures. But since the children are attached from birth to the family, it is the sole responsibility of the parents to show them freedom and allow them to make the right choices, even if it means going far, far away. Upbringing has its ways of moulding the child to “earn” the love of his/her parents. The decision to look after the parents during old age is more weighted on the freewill of the children than the demands of the parents.
Now when it comes to unconditional love among couples, this is what is also termed True Love. This kind of an emotional reaching out is said to be one of the most implicit feelings felt toward the significant other. A feeling of always wanting to be around or be there with the other. The feeling is also stronger as the “other” is hitherto unknown and yet has struck something within the heart to make it rise in song. But developing an attachment could be only a one way affair. Having a desire or expectation in this case is again creating a gilded cage and hoping the significant other will fly in all by himself/herself. But what if the other does not share the same feeling? Then the empty cage of expectation still sits on the shoulders and weighs us down. Instead, throw off that cage and feel the buoying of the soul as it reaches the ethers. Feel because you want to feel. Love is again all about freewill of the soul.
Just as a true friend cannot be possessed, a true love can never be possessed. It brings more joy to love and acknowledge that the other has opened up compassion and a brighter view of life. Give thanks to the other for instilling this new view and let him/her go. No expectation brings no sorrow. Internalize this feeling of love and make it unconditional. Nothing is expected from the other. If reciprocation happens, be grateful. Otherwise, watch the other find happiness and know that nothing was lost.
Live and let live. Love and let go. Everyone’s a winner.