Yesterday I posted up a letter that my 8 year old daughter wrote to me.
It seems I’m doing something right. This is good to know as mostly I don’t know what I’m doing.
That statement needs some qualification. Unconditional love is learned and received as a child. We then pass it on to our own children. Unfortunately, it is not a thing I ever learned from my own parents. In 48 years the phrase “I love you” is not one I ever heard from them. Not once. I am in the dark. I have to make it up as I go along. Find it from…somewhere.
One of the troubles with this sort of predicament is (and whilst this may be a cliché it is certainly true) that you can spend a long time looking for unconditional love yourself.
When I went through therapy for my recurrent depression we went over this a lot. He would say…
There is a time for unconditional love. Infancy. Adult relations are conditional
…and I would protest. React. Argue. Stomp. Panic.
Eventually I stopped. Eventually it sank in. Eventually I grew up. Mostly. Maybe that’s why my daughter can write that letter.
Crucially, I am no longer concerned what you think. I am not ashamed. It is not my fault. I also learned the difference between fragility (which is weak and awkward) and vulnerability (which is the opposite). From a distance, they can be confused.