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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

Am I Worthy of Being Loved?


Maybe this strikes you as an odd question to ask. After all, aren’t we all worthy of being loved? Yes, and yes. But that isn’t exactly my question. What I am really asking is how we prepare ourselves to be loved. Now perhaps that too may seem a strange question to pose. Why should I have to do anything, isn’t loving like riding a bike or breathing, something we just learn to do from birth? We love our parents or caregivers, other family members and as we get older even people who are not necessarily related to us—and of course that special someone, assuming we are in a relationship. We love all these people and they love us, so what is it that we did or should be doing to deserve that love?

If I were coming at this question from a strictly spiritual perspective I might point out that there is nothing we did or can do to deserve love. It is a gift given to us by that higher being that dwells within us, the one I call God. God’s love is unconditional, he loves us no matter what we do, even when we turn away, or fail to live up to being our best selves. As humans, we are not quite so forgiving. We often have conditions, and sometimes we reject love without even paying notice. There is a reason some go through life alone and without love.

It’s not that we take love for granted. We do hurt, sometimes bitterly, when our love for another is rejected, and most people would tell you they wish for unconditional love more than anything else, but have never felt it. I won’t quibble and point out that they already have it from the one whose love matters most. I get what they mean, they want that kind of love from another person.

Here is where we come to the heart of the matter—if you’ll forgive the play on words. How can we seek unconditional love if we do not give it? For that matter, what does unconditional love look like? Well we have some words we could probably use to describe that kind of loving. Words like, forgiving, thankful, without jealousy. These are just a few among many I could list, each signaling an attribute that we associate with the kind of love that comes without conditions. The Apostle Paul listed others in his letter to the Corinithians—the verse we often hear read at weddings but too often put aside as life overtakes that moment in time.

I’ve said it before, loving that way, without conditions, is not easy for us humans. We come with all sorts of baggage. If we truly want to love and be loved unconditionally than we must prepare ourselves, we have some exercising to do. How about we start by loving people who don’t love us? And while we are at it, we might want to add those who have hurt us, need our forgiveness, and those who have done us some harm. God loves them unconditionally too, can we?

I wasn’t kidding when I said it isn’t easy. Sure, when you are first in love with another, everything seems easy. That’s not when we fail. The conditions come over time. Gradually, we find fault, become irritated or short tempered. We look for and inevitably find those things that hurt, annoy, or just rub us the wrong way. Shortness gives way to anger, and spats become confrontations—or maybe just simmering disengagement. Unconditional love, well it cannot thrive in such an environment, it withers and dies. Sometimes, love even becomes hate, a brooding anger at the outcome of love thwarted or rejected.

That is why we must prepare ourselves. It isn’t for the good times, but for the rough ones when we may want to turn away, give up, or turn our blunted feelings inward toward bitterness. We need to practice loving unconditionally daily, to build up our emotional muscle memory so that when those rough patches come upon us we turn outward, not inward. We approach with kindness, with forgiveness, with re-commitment to loving fully and without conditions.

I have had this conversation from time to time with others and sometimes I am asked are there ever occasions when no matter how hard we try, how much we are willing to turn the cheek, give love in return without expecting anything in return, we should walk away? My response is yes—in a small number of extreme situations we may find a person incapable of giving; hardened by life and experience in a way that makes them impervious to all that we may do. We may need to give them up to God to love with the power he alone possesses. They are beyond our human capacity. These are the exceptions though, and at least in my experience, rare indeed.

For the rest of us, the answer remains clear. Unconditional means just that. Love with every fiber of your being, love all the harder when it isn’t easy to love. When you are sorely tried, feeling beyond hope, at your wits end—and I certainly hope that will never be the case for you, that is when you must love all the more. And here is the amazing thing, if you do, truly love as best you can, the way God loves us you’ll find that your hurt, pain, fear and doubt will just dissolve away. What seemed unendurable will become treasured, and pain will turn to gratefulness; the ultimate reward for living and loving without condition.


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