My “Ah-Ha!” Moment

How can we learn to love unconditionally?

I just had an epiphany.

First, a little back-story:

I grew up without a father. I had a mother, and two grandparents, and an uncle, all who loved me unconditionally. Well, I admit, I really only felt that from my mother and grandfather. My grandmother and uncle, I am sure, loved me unconditionally. I just never had as much contact with them to really know for sure.

I grew up knowing I was something special. But as I became an adult, something happened. I was always striving to please everyone, and yet, I always felt like I came up short. My personality, my body language—who knows—put people off. As happens in our lives, I began to have unintentional conflicts with my colleagues and my friends. For some reason, they never understood that I loved them unconditionally.

I was always pissing people off.

So, I began to doubt myself. I began to put walls up. Which, of course, just made matters worse. It probably doesn’t help that I am incredibly passionate, stubborn, and have high expectations—for both myself and everyone around me.

A few months ago, I contacted my father. A man who never knew I existed. Someone whom I never thought I needed, since, after all, I was who I was because I didn’t have a father.

I was prepared for the worst. I was prepared for silence, anger, disbelief.

I wasn’t prepared for what I got:


He loved me.


Here was a man who didn’t even know me, and yet he loved me.

And amazingly, my family grew. A grandmother, an aunt, countless uncles and cousins. And all of them convey to me the same thing: we love you.

Why? They don’t know me.

They love me because I exist. Because I am family.

I recently met one of my father’s cousins, whom he grew up with.

And guess what?

She loves me.

And here’s the thing: it feels good. It feels so good to have people love you. To know you are loved.

And today, I suddenly realized why this whole experience is affecting me so much:

Because, for the first time in years, there are people to whom I have nothing to prove. There are people who exist in this world who are not mad at me, who are loving, and kind, and outgoing, and who say, “you are family. We love you.”

Now, why can’t we all be like this? Why can’t I?

Why do I meet people and wait to get to know them—wait to see what they have up their sleeve, wait for them to prove that they are worthy of my friendship and my love?

Why do I have walls up, when complete strangers don’t?

So, what can I do to make sure that people know they are loved by me? What can I do to be like my new family—walls down, arms open wide, nothing held back?

I am not sure. But I will tell you that I strive to be kind. I strive to be loving. I strive to not be so damn annoyed by people.

I strive to let people know they are loved.


‘Cause it feels so damn good.

Love is a drug.

It’s time some of us started dealing.

Share This Post


  • Can I just say… holy crap! I still remember you talking about being raised by a single mom way back when we were in high school. That’s awesome that you finally reconnected with your father. And even awesomer (hey, I can make up words if I want) that it’s opened up all these new experiences for you.

  • You are loved unconditionally by me, but I’m thrilled that your world has expanded to include so many new family members who also love you unconditionally. You deserve it. = ) Well written – great message!

  • Definitely something to strive for. I think it takes a strong person to love strangers unconditionally. It’s pretty scary sometimes and vulnerable to love freely and hope your love isn’t used to hurt you.

  • Your article reminds me of a little aphorism I have:

    There are two ways to live life: 1) distrust others until they gain your trust, or 2) trust others until they lose your trust.

    If you live by the first way, you protect yourself and rarely get hurt. However, you may also prevent yourself from forming great relationships with other people.

Leave a Reply