I’ve been thinking about the meaning of “Unconditional Love” a lot of late. It seems a fiendish and impossible task, yet nothing less than that is demanded of us in these challenging times. So what does it mean? And here’s what I’ve come up with: Unconditional love starts at home, with oneself. It means honoring our feelings and our emotions, regardless of how imperfect they may seem, especially in the face of anger, frustration, impatience, ego, guilt, shame, blame and negativity. It’s not that we — or anyone else for that matter is perfect — but that we treat others the way we treat ourselves, and only when we can honor and validate the imperfect aspects of ourselves can we begin to honor (with a shred of forgiveness) those aspects in others. Self-loathing is not love. Love of any sort is not possible when it is being oppressed by these dominant emotions. So step 1 is being able to recognize, own and love the imperfect aspects of ourselves. Forgive yourself. Be kind and understanding with yourself. Chances are you’re doing the best you can given the circumstances and the hand you’ve been dealt. Feel compassion with yourself. That is what unconditional love is all about. The rest will follow accordingly.