I cherish my family and friends.  Each and every one of them.

They occupy every conceivable side of every conceivable aisle.

They are unafraid to be who they are.  To think what they think.  Feel what they feel.  And express their truth.

We don’t always agree with one another.  But the majority of the time we are all able to agree to disagree.  Which is not easy.  It takes work.  And enormous patience.  Particularly with ourselves. But the end result is unconditional love.

When I was growing up I confused unconditional love with…well…if you love me, really love me, you’ll accept me, understand me, and agree with me. 100% It took me a good decade or more to realize that it’s the exact opposite.

Far too many of us demand to be loved without conditions only to turn around and place conditions on our love for others.  It’s like when all the people in the world who have been persecuted the most severely turn around and persecute others as severely if not more so.  I mean, what’s that about?  In my mind someone who’s been severely persecuted should be the first to realize that no one should be severely persecuted and behave accordingly.  Someone who has not been loved unconditionally should be the first to choose to love everyone else unconditionally.  The next time you find yourself expecting to be loved unconditionally ask yourself if you’re loving others unconditionally.

I recently drove past a church with a marquee that read “Freedom – To do what pleases God”  And that, in my opinion, is not freedom.  Freedom is to do what pleases me.  But isn’t that what it boils down to?  If I don’t do what pleases God, He won’t love me.  How can we hope to be loved unconditionally if even God doesn’t love that way?

I choose to love everyone on this planet unconditionally.  And yes, some people make it far more challenging to love them, but I do.  I choose to.  It takes a lot of energy because it’s hard work, but it’s worth it.  You want to know when I became able to do it?  When I started loving myself unconditionally.

And believe me, if I can love myself unconditionally, I can love anybody!