Self-care versus Unconditional Love


I’ve got a friend who is behaving, currently, in a way that I really do not like. I don’t want to try and change her behaviour or attitudes, and I know that I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I also don’t want to change my thoughts and decide her behaviour is okay, because according to my values it really isn’t.

My problem is: when I think about what she’s currently doing and saying, I know that I don’t want to be around that. I know that for sure. However, I also want to love her unconditionally and feel compassion for her, and I don’t want to drop a friend because I don’t like her behaviour – that would feel like I was being judgmental.

The truth is: I do feel immense compassion and understanding for her in one way, but I also choose to think that many of her current and recent behaviours are unacceptable *to me, as part of my life*. Should I therefore do what’s right for me and explain to her that these behaviours mean that I am going to choose to keep my distance, or not?

If I do that, am I failing to show up and do my only job of loving my friend unconditionally? I do not feel, at the moment, like I love her. I feel more like ‘I understand her, and why she’s acting the way she is, but I don’t like her much.’ This thought makes me aware that if I were to stop seeing her, it wouldn’t so much be a case of ‘I love you…but this isn’t working for me’ (eg a clean place). It would be more like I’m deciding I dislike her behaviour, and having a lower opinion of her as a result – and so I’m choosing to distance myself.

And the problem with *that* is that it feels very far away from showing up to love my friend unconditionally in spite of what I regard as her currently-terrible behaviour. So, I could just show up and practise loving her – but then I’m accepting regular, terrible behaviour in my life, which I don’t want! Help!