Question: In your writings, you speak often of the term “unconditional love”―where would “tough love” fit into that?
Answer: In my opinion, “tough love” can absolutely be considered a form of unconditional love. How “loving” would it be to indulge a friend or loved one by helping them to be an inferior version of themselves, to be less than their true potential? To be honest, tough love is the most difficult kind of love because it usually means that we have to stand by and watch someone suffer until they are willing to confront their destructive behavior and embrace their true potential. To assist someone by helping them to continue in their own self-destruction seems to me to be the opposite of love.
I’m not suggesting that tough love should be an automatic response to a given situation. There are many avenues that can be explored first, such as counseling or an intervention, but if someone refuses constructive help, they may need to hit “rock bottom” before they are ready for a constructive approach.
I think a good question to ask in any given situation is, “Am I helping this person to be constructive in building themselves up, or helping them to be destructive in tearing themselves down?”
I understand that each situation is unique, so you must follow what you feel is right based on all of the information at your disposal―the mental state, financial concerns, family circumstances, and other miscellaneous variables of the person (or people) involved. If tough love seems appropriate given the circumstances, know that, in my opinion, it is still love―you love them so much that you’re not going to be an accomplice in their own destructive behaviors.
Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but that’s The Truth as I See It.