Love is a Conscious Decision

Have you ever fallen in love?

What was it like? How did it happen?

It’s likely that you cannot even identify how it happened…it just happened, right? You woke up one morning totally infatuated by someone. They were all you could think about and you didn’t want to do anything except for to spend time with them. That’s love happening to you. When you fall in love, you have zero control. Your emotions are running things and, if you become open to it, you give up and let love take its course. You allow yourself to fall and wait to see where things will land. You don’t have to do anything!

You just give love the reigns.

But what happens when you’re not falling anymore? What happens when you’ve landed and everything around you is still? What do you do when love no longer has the reigns and has forfeited them back to you?

Do you then choose love? Or do you pass?

I suppose it begins by defining love, which is probably one of the most difficult things you could attempt. Some say love is different for everyone depending on their perception of the world, but at the same time there are some inherent truths about the love in which we all feel.

Often times, when we try to ask ourselves what love is, we revert to the “feeling” of love, but love is something deeper than that. The “feeling” of love is what changes, dulls over time, eventually dissipates, and returns again when the wind blows. That’s how feelings and emotions work, they are fleeting, but love is not just a feeling or emotion.

Instead love is more importantly an act.

At some point, you must choose love over the alternative. You must make the conscious choice to love; a decision to be understanding and affectionate towards someone; a decision to find happiness in bringing them happiness. In any situation, even in non-romantic love, you may not always “feel” the love depending on your rollercoaster of emotions as a human being, but you are always capable of making the choice to act with love.

In the book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the author points out that often times we forget that love is a verb. He talks about couples complaining to him that they don’t love their partner anymore. They say they aren’t attracted to them anymore. They focus on everything about them that gets under their skin. They say they just don’t feel the same and he asks them, “What do you do?”

And they usually respond with nothing.

They are waiting for the love to come back. However, It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.

Of course, all of this comes with one big caveat:

You must know how to love yourself before you can truly give all of your love to someone else.

You must reflect on the kind of person you want to be, the person you are deep down inside, and the things in life that will bring you total happiness. Only knowing these things about yourself will allow you to identify them in the world around you.

But whatever you do, don’t be content with a love that you cling to. Don’t go searching outside for the answers to resolve, not just your issues on love, but your issues on life. Don’t wait around for the next fall.

Find a love that will challenge your spirit and force you to grow. Search yourself for your priorities, interests, and passions and then choose a love that will empower you to pursue them. And whether it is your life partner, parents, siblings, or best friend, make the conscious decision to love them and take whatever actions you can to show them they are appreciated.

James Garner