How to finish that sentence?
Philosophers, poets, lyricists, and a trillion others have tried their best to define, gauge, and otherwise quantify love throughout human history
We’re still waiting for a consensus.
We know that love is real… but is real love a choice or a feeling?
7 Reasons Why Love Is A Choice
Let’s first turn our attention to all of the little ways in which our love for another is a choice that we actively make.
1. Love is often selfless.
Sometimes we act in ways we might not otherwise act – all in the name of love.
We put a loved one first now and again. We compromise. We make sacrifices in order to bring a smile to their face.
A parent does these things on a daily basis because they love their child and want what’s best for them.
A lover, too, will often do these things because they wish to help their partner through difficult times, and to see them thrive and grow.
Selflessness is a key component of true love, and given how self-serving humans generally are, it shows that a conscious choice has to be made.
2. Love is forgiving.
Even our loved ones – especially our loved ones – will upset us from time to time.
At which point, one of the options available to you is forgiveness.
But forgiving someone is a process that requires work and effort, especially when the hurt is great.
You have to actively choose to go through that process. And by making that choice, you are expressing your love for that person.
You are saying that they are worth the effort to forgive.
3. You choose who you keep in your life.
Whilst you may not be able to choose your blood relatives, you can decide whether you want them to be a part of your life.
And your wider circle of friends is definitely one that you choose to maintain because you value their contribution to your existence.
Truly loving relationships of all kinds take work to keep going. As we journey through life, we have to let some relationships wither and die in order for others to grow and blossom
Sometimes we even have to let go of deeply loving friendships – perhaps letting them become mere acquaintances or else saying goodbye forever.
We may not always be aware that we are making these decisions, but they are made nonetheless.
4. Love can still have boundaries.
There are certain things we will accept from others, and other things we will not.
And some things we will accept from one person, but not from another.
We may feel different types of love for different people and will set boundaries based on this.
You may require a level of privacy from your parents; a point at which you will not share certain information with them. But you still love them.
Yet with a lover, you may divulge far more of what is going on inside your head or your heart. You may let them catch a glimpse of the raw soul underneath it all.
You love both parties, but you choose what you are willing to do or allow for that love.
5. Love remains even during emotional turmoil.
Life events can cause a storm of emotion at any time.
A loss leads to sadness and anguish.
A bad day at work leads to anger or frustration.
An argument with a friend leads to anxiety and regret.
At these times, the warm and fuzzy feelings you have toward a person may be utterly overwhelmed and suppressed.
But you still turn to them for help and support.
You choose to find comfort in their warm embrace and share your troubles with them where necessary.
You trust that they will be there and that they will accept you as you currently are.
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6. Love looks for the good.
All relationships are hard, whatever form they take.
When you love someone, you try to see the good in them as often as possible, even when they are making that difficult to do.
Our partners, family, and friends will all do things that we find annoying or that we wish they wouldn’t do.
Sometimes our minds dwell on these things, but just as often we decide to look past a person’s failings and remind ourselves of all their virtues too.
We don’t have to do that, but we choose to because we love them and we would want them to do the same to us.
7. Love is a commitment.
Whether by marriage vows, living together, sharing bank accounts, or having a family, love is two people declaring that they are dedicated and loyal to one another.
This is the ultimate choice of love: to forge and maintain a bond over time and in the face of the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.
Such a commitment cannot be made through feeling alone. It has to come from the rational thought of two people.
4 Reasons Why Love Is A Feeling
Let’s now turn our attention to the ways in which real love is a feeling that exists in a person and between two people.
1. Love is compelling.
There are times when two people are simply drawn to each other.
It can happen during the early throes of a romantic relationship – though it should not be confused with lust which is different to love.
It can also happen in long-established relationships and friendships, years or even decades old.
It is when you feel an intense urge to be with a person because you need to see and be with them.
Perhaps you have spent time apart and you just can’t wait to get back to them, to see their face and smile.
Or maybe you just stop when passing them by in the hallway of your home and give them a great big hug.
2. Love is unexplainable.
Sometimes we can’t say for sure why we love someone, we just do.
It’s a knowing without knowing. An instinctive thing. A heavenly hand guiding you toward another.
There are people who love each other at first sight – or at first meeting. Like souls that have found in each other a lifelong companion for the road ahead.
You know that you love someone, but there are never quite the perfect words to explain why you feel that way.
3. You fall in love.
Most people don’t love another at first sight. They go through stages of falling in love.
But it is rare that a person ever chooses to fall in any sense of the word, and falling in love is no different.
You can’t say, “Right, I’m going to fall in love with this person now.”
It just doesn’t work like that.
Falling in love takes time and many emotional ups and downs. Sure, you may choose to spend time with someone, but there is no guarantee that this will result in love.
As often as people fall in love, other relationships simply fade and come to nothing.
4. Love evolves.
Sometimes the love of friendship develops into the love of romance.
Sometimes the love of family becomes a deep love of friendship (between parent and child, for example).
Even within a romantic relationship, the type of feeling we experience toward a partner can change as we grow older.
This evolution of love doesn’t happen because we make it happen, it just… happens.
It’s still love, but it’s transformed into something different.
So, Love Is A Choice AND A Feeling?
Yep, that’s right. Love is not an either/or – it’s an AND.
When you love someone, you are both making a choice and overcome by a feeling.
Love involves making the choices required to nurture and maintain a feeling.
You cannot have one without the other.
Feeling love but not choosing it is like craving a chocolate brownie but not eating it.
Choosing love but not feeling it is like eating a chocolate brownie when you don’t really like chocolate brownies.
Neither will bring you the long term satisfaction you desire.
You have to want the chocolate brownie and you have to actually eat it.
So, yeah, love = chocolate brownies.