The last three months of my life is full of phenomenal transformations. I sailed five days through a tear-jerking self-discovery programme in the Basic Training at AsiaWorks.
I explored another five days of breaking through imaginative possibilities in life in a breakthrough programme called the Advanced Course that puts me on contract with myself to be a loving, passionate and powerful woman.
I am now barely four weeks into my 90-day journey in an outrageous and unreasonable leadership programme that taught me to be so madly in love with my goals. Through it all, I discovered something very profound, and something so simple, and yet so complex. This treasure that I have discovered is called unconditional love.
Unconditional love is an inexhaustible treasure because the more I give, the more I get. Like trust begets trust. Animosity begets animosity. Love begets love. I see unconditional love as an uninhibited way of being, as it allows me the freedom to go beyond my perceived limits and break that glass ceiling.
Having experienced unconditional love, I believe that it’s the greatest power known to human beings. Unconditional love transcends our thoughts and feelings. Unconditional love creates boundless, creative, imaginative possibilities in life. If I can dream it, I create it and make it happen.
I discovered that for the major part of my life, I have missed out on the simplicity of unconditional love. I missed the point because I was busy thinking more than feeling. I was busy rationalising rather than enjoying the moment. I was busy thinking about my next step rather being in the present.
During my Advanced Course, I got to do a stretch where I managed to create a relationship with a total stranger and I had only two hours to accomplish it. I began by approaching two people on the streets of Bangsar and one of them was running from me thinking I was selling something to him.
It was not working for me in the first half hour, because I was busy thinking of the results, and not my “being” with people. On the verge of giving up, I just walked about and I thought nobody would know if I skipped this assignment anyway.
Then, I saw this old Indian woman in her 80s walking alone along the street in front of Bangsar Village II. Somehow, my heart went out to her for no apparent reason. I was compelled to go to her. She was moving away from me at first, but I was persistent in keeping close to her.
As she was about to cross the street, a car suddenly came out from a corner, and I grabbed her hand before she could take another step. She did not say a word but I saw gratefulness in her eyes, and I had what I had with only that. We made a connection, and that was the starting point of my relationship with her. With a new found trust, she held my hands as I walked her safely across the street.
When she asked me to join her for lunch at her favourite restaurant, I jumped with joy at the opportunity to get to know my new found friend. So, we broke bread together as I listened to her story. After our lunch, she asked me to walk her to her house at Jalan Telawi, so I did.
At her house gate, the unexpected event happened. Tears welled in her eyes as she said to me, “Please come by and visit me sometimes. My children are living far away, and I feel so lonely sometimes. It’s been a long time since someone had listened to me and walked hand-in-hand with me like you did.”
I nodded to her as I took the piece of paper where she wrote her phone number for me. I hugged her and kissed her soft cheeks before I walked the streets of Bangsar again and back to my car. Since that day, I have come back to visit her at her house and walk with her to her favourite restaurant. I look forward to visit her again soon.
From this experience, I had learned that unconditional love is indeed a fertile seed. It means, how unconditional my love is, would be evident in how I show up in the world with others. Unconditional love is about giving unconditionally. The more I give unconditional love to the people around me, even to a stranger on the street, the bigger the seed of love grows in my heart.
Unconditional love is about expecting nothing in return when you give love to someone. To illustrate my concept, let me share another story.
A deep conversation I had with an old friend, Rush, from my university days had left a profound mark on my thoughts. We were talking about a mutual friend who was getting married. As love and marriage goes together like a horse and carriage, the topic had digressed to a much larger concept than marriage itself – LOVE, that is.
Rush thought that love just rolled down at our mutual friend’s feet, unlike for him, it’s an uphill task – he felt he’s not good enough. I disagreed, knowing this is just his belief, not a fact. People sometimes say, “Stop looking and love will find you”. But I also hear another school of thought that says, everyone has to look for his or her other half, because love, like a good fortune doesn’t just roll down at our feet.
Another friend once told me, “There’s no such thing as Mr. Right”. To which I agree, because there is only the right chemistry between two people, who will just have to make things go right. We must never look for Mr. Right. Instead, look for someone who feels right for us, makes us feel alright, and makes us feel that being with him is the right thing to do.
From this “right” relationship, what should evolve is “unconditional love” for each other. I believe this selfless thing is what you call true love – very rare indeed and I do envy those who found it.
I believe selfless unconditional love can only be achieved if you have emotional maturity and emotional independence where you don’t need someone to make you happy or unhappy. So, that way, when you love someone, it is only to make your other half happy – not the other way around. You see, most people find her other half hoping he can make her happy. That is the problem!
To which Rush replied: “Damn! Well said. Hit me straight to the heart. I guess I should really learn how to actually give first before I can receive.”
Selfless unconditional love may sound idealistic because people are selfish and has no sincerity in love. They expect to be loved before they can fully give love.
It’s like, if he or she loves me, then I’ll love her back. Otherwise forget it.
I believe that if one falls in love, then one just falls in love. There is no “IF” for love is an absolute sum game. It takes great strength to give absolute unconditional love.
Most people fear their love will not be returned, so they would rather not give at all. But they forget to give Shakespeare some credit – better to have loved and lost, than not to have loved at all. I think if your love is returned, you’re most fortunate – it will be the greatest gift to be shared between two people. But if you’re unlucky, then consider it “sedekah” or goodwill.
Just like a fruit bearing tree will only bear new fruits once it sheds off the fruits, love is only love when you give it away. Unconditional love is all about abundance, not about scarcity. You don’t lose anything by giving love unconditionally. You gained by having a bigger heart.