Ep 4 Conditional Love…I will love you IF…

Hello my friend. Welcome to the One Heart Podcast. I’m your host Brooke Snow, and I’m so grateful to have you here.

In this episode we’re going to talk about conditional love and shine a light on how we withhold love from ourselves or others based upon the conditions we may unknowingly be putting upon ourselves or others. Living with conditional love has its consequences. Most prominently being the ever present feeling of not being enough or having to fix or change who you are in order to be loved or accepted. It’s a constant state of lack and poverty, and one of the greatest epidemics of our time. The great tragedy of this, is it doesn’t have to be this way, because the love we seek is actually already within. This is why I begin each of these episodes with my One Heart Meditation. We’re training ourselves to access the love that is always within us. As such,

I invite you to join me in a three breath meditation to settle into your own heart.

Breathing in, come back into awareness of your body and descend to your heart.

Breathing in, opening your heart.

Breathing in, embody the love that is always inside you.

Thank you, friends for joining me for the One Heart podcast.

One of the most important principles to learn about love is that you always have it inside you. This is why the meditation we do at the beginning of these podcasts invites you to “access” the love that is always within you.

For most of my life I believed otherwise. I believed love was something I needed to earn. It was something I earned through obedience, or perfect behavior. It was something I thirsted for in the approval of others.

If others loved me, then it gave me permission to love myself.
If others did not love me, then this inevitably meant that something was wrong with me. I was unworthy of love and needed to fix myself or become someone different who was worthy of love.

In truth, what I have just described is conditional love.

I will love you IF….
Others will love you IF….
You deserve love IF….
You can be happy IF…
You can love others IF…
You can be your true self IF…

These are all conditions.

I never knew I was experiencing conditional love, but this is what I’ve known most of my life.
I don’t blame anyone for this. I think this is a normal life experience in a world filled with judgement. It’s part of the life we experience from eating of the tree of knowledge we learned about in Ep. 3. We enter a world of judgement and duality.

Adults teach us what is socially, culturally, or ethically right and wrong. We learn through the system of punishment and reward that by behaving or being a certain way we receive love and approval and if we don’t behave or appear a certain way we do not receive love and approval.

We become conditioned to the expectations of those around us. We become domesticated just like we domesticate a dog.
We give rewards for good behavior. We give punishment or we withdraw love to show we don’t approve in order to teach obedience.

It works for dogs.
And it works for people.

We become trained and conditioned to behave in a way that will give us the love we seek.

Except, the problem is, in all this conditioning we learn to reject who we really are in order to be someone different to receive more love. We learn there is an ideal way to be. We learn who the ideal woman is, or the ideal man. We learn what makes the ideal daughter, son, friend, student, athlete, performer, spouse, and on and on. We learn this from our cultural conditioning. And we eventually figure out–even if it’s subconsciously– that who this ideal is does not match who we really are. We become aware that we have a deficit. A dreaded awful deficit of not being good enough for the ideal.

My body isn’t the ideal image.
My appearance isn’t the ideal image.
My personality isn’t the ideal image.
My skills and abilities are not the ideal image.
My hopes and dreams are not the ideal image.
My role as daughter, wife, mother, friend, so often are not the ideal image.

I have all sorts of nuanced and unique quirks that feel so different from this ideal image that I judge myself as not enough. And no matter how much I strive to be this ideal, I discover that I’m still not this image no matter how I try.

My human self keeps messing it all up and I just don’t seem to ever get there, or if I do, it doesn’t last for long.
Or, perhaps I have managed to obtain the illusion of this image but then someone gives me a criticism and judgement which in effect creates a new image of what I should be and I have a deficit once again.

Have you ever felt that you were not enough for whatever ideal image you have in your mind?
Have you ever felt that you didn’t deserve love because you didn’t match an ideal image?
Have you ever felt that others expected you to be someone different than you were?
Have you ever expected yourself to be different than you are?

I have felt this most of my life.
I wasn’t aware I was feeling this. Instead I interpreted these feelings as motivation to improve myself and achieve.
I just need to be more productive.
I just need to be more fit and healthy.
I just need to be more fashionable, more successful, more domestic, more righteous or spiritual…

If I could just be MORE of something THEN I could be loved.

Or maybe it was that I needed to LESS of something…

How many times had I been told I was too much?
Too serious?
Too ambitious?
Too much temper?
Too sensitive?
Too fat?
To this or too that?

If I could only be LESS of something, maybe then I could be loved…

This my friends is conditional love.

I will love you IF.

We do this to ourselves and we do this to others.

This has shown up over and over again in the relationships in my family.
Countless times I have told myself the story of ” If only I was more or less [fill in the blanks] then I wouldn’t have conflict in this relationship.”
Or, “If only I was more or less {fill in the blank} then this other person would love and approve of me.”

Conditional love.

Not only was I believing that I couldn’t be loved until I met a certain image, I would also withhold my own love when others didn’t meet the image I had for them.

I certainly wasn’t going to be my lovely true self for my children or husband IF they weren’t behaving the way I wanted them too.

I’m not going to be my happy loving self IF my husband is late…
Or IF my children are misbehaving…
Or IF my husband has a different opinion
Or IF my children haven’t done what I think they should have done…

They don’t DESERVE to have that version of me unless they have EARNED it.

Now I’m using conditional love to manipulate other people.

I have done this for as long as I can remember. I’ve withheld love from myself and others based on conditions.

This is how I was raised. Not explicitly, of course. It’s just a natural consequence of being in a world so full of judgement for what the perfect ideal is. We are taught this by media, culture, community, religion, family, education, and an entire world of judgements based upon what people have agreed upon to be the “right” or “wrong” or “good” or “bad” way of being. What is the “ideal”.

Unfortunately, this version of love is not fulfilling or everlasting. How long can you maintain the perfect image? What happens when you fail? And perhaps more importantly, how much of your authentic self have you had to abandon in order to achieve this image? Will love feel the way I hoped it will if I have given up who I am in order to receive it? Or will it feel hollow, because I have erased my authentic self to gain the approval of others?

Unconditional love is different.

Unconditional love just is. There are no conditions to giving love or receiving it. You don’t earn it or deserve it. Love is simply there regardless of behavior, regardless of ideals.

Beautifully, unconditional love.

This love is not based on judgement. It’s not based on ideals. It’s not based on behavior.

This is the love that always exists inside of us. This is the love that made the universe filled with infinite variety and uniqueness on purpose. This is the love that breathes life and light into every living thing.

This is the love that is our natural state of being.

We are born this way. Think of a new baby who has their physical and emotional needs met. What is the state of being? It’s love.

This childlike state does not see the world in judgement. The child simply is. As very small children, before we have learned the conditioning of judgement, we exist as love.

We like what we like. We express exactly what we are feeling. We know who we are drawn to and we know who we are not drawn to. We are curious about the world. We don’t see through the lens of race, religion, nationality, or politics. We haven’t yet learned the stories of judgement about anyone, most especially ourselves.

We live in the present because we haven’t yet learned how to ruminate on the past or fear the future. We just enjoy life. We accept ourselves exactly as we are. We accept others exactly as they are. We haven’t yet learned that anyone should be different than they are right now because of not meeting some ideal.We don’t think about what we look like and how we appear to others. We see ourselves and others with the heart not the mind.

When Jesus taught his followers to become as a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, I imagine this child like state of being. This state of mind. It is the mind before we learned all the conditioning and judgement. It is the mind of unconditional love. And when we are free from this judgement we experience heaven. There’s a beautiful peacefulness when we stop rejecting who we are or we stop rejecting who someone else is. I think an apt description of hell is self rejection and withholding and denying love because of judgement and not meeting an ideal. If hell is self rejection and withholding love, then Heaven is love and acceptance. It is a deep sense of belonging not only to others, but to yourself. Your true authentic self.

Do you want to live in heaven?
Or do you want to live in hell?

I want to live in heaven. And I’m learning it has everything to do with my ability to access love. The love that is already there inside me. But I have to descend to my heart and let go of the mind’s judgements to access this state of unconditional love. It is always there. We never lost it. We just block it by the judgements in our own mind.

To live with unconditional love doesn’t require us to learn anything.

But it does require us to UNLEARN many things.

Most prominently, it requires us to unlearn our judgements.
It requires us to let go of the ideal image we were conditioned to believe was the ticket to love and acceptance.
Let go of all the things you think are too much or not enough in who you think you have to be.
Let it all go.
When those things can be let go of, what remains is the authentic self. The real you. The same authentic you as that beautiful baby you were when you were born who existed in unconditional love, free from judgement. That you is still there. It’s always there.
I invite you to live from this place more often.
Return to the heart.

The light in me honors the light in you.


Hello friend, If you enjoy this podcast, it would mean so much if you would take the time to rate, review, and subscribe. This is a brand new podcast and this does so much for helping this podcast to grow and reach more people.

As a thank you, I have also created a free “I love and accept you” meditation you can use to practice living with one heart available on the Co Create app. Simply download the Co Create app from the App Store and it’s waiting for you in the Free Meditations. You can find a link to Apple or Google app stores in the shownotes of this episodes. You are love. Namaste.


Receive my free “I love and accept you” Meditation on the Co Create App.

Find it in the Apple App Store

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