I remember being in high school, and trying to convince my mom that love was IN FACT a feeling and not a decision. I, in my 16 years of wisdom, was absolutely certain that I knew what I was talking about. Never mind the fact that I had never been in a relationship before, much less even kissed someone of the opposite sex.
But I was sure.
Love was not something you decided on. Love was something you FELT! It's that indescribable spark! That rush of dopamine to your brain! The up all night on the phone talking about your hopes and dreams every night, butterflies in your stomach, twinkle in your eyes feeling that only comes around once in a lifetime! That's what love is.
That's what I thought.
Now, more than 10 years later, I've come to some new conclusions about love that, had you told me I would think this way 10 years ago, I would've said you were nuts. But after experiencing love and heartbreak of my own in the past decade, I think I have a better understanding of what love is now, than I did when I was 16.
Here are some of the conclusions I've come to.
1. I don't think love is a feeling.
I think the feelings we experience when we're falling in love are a variety of emotions. Joy, euphoria, excitement, fear, nervousness. It's the combination of all of these emotions that we describe as "love". Because in truth, there is no one emotion to describe the feeling of being or falling in love. And I guess that's why we often describe love as a feeling, because there is no other way to really describe the wave of emotions that overcome us. Often times, it's not logical. It doesn't make sense. So we say that we feel in love, because we don't have another word for all of the emotions.
I also think that there are moments in life when we're enamored or infatuated, and that can easily get confused with feeling in love. Because let's be real, the feeling of being enamored by someone is an amazing experience! I spoke about this in my blog post about "the spark" and it's true. Those moments of euphoria when you're looking into each other's eyes and it feels like nothing else in the world matters are the moments that truly make life worth living. But again, those are just some of the feelings that make up the feeling of "love." But being enamored isn't equivalent to being in love. Even though it might feel like it.
2. Love stems from gratitude.
I think that all true love stems from gratitude. Like when your partner offers to do a chore that you normally do, or they surprise you with something that you weren't expecting. The feeling that arises is gratitude.
I once read a blog post about how gratitude is the antidote of not feeling as "in love" with your partner as you did when you first started dating or when you first got married. When you step back and focus in on being grateful for the good that they do, instead of the little annoyances, it makes those feelings of love multiply.
Our thoughts can often control or contribute to our feelings. And the thoughts we think about our partner definitely affects how lovey-dovey we feel when we're around them.
3. We make decisions about everything. Including love.
I think it's time that we, as a society, stop making it seem like deciding to love someone is somehow bad or less romantic. What's the alternative? Letting your emotions control everything you do, even if they make you do dumb things?
Don't get me wrong, our emotions don't always lead us astray. But they definitely have for me a time or two. The problem isn't the emotion, but it's the fact that emotions can be so powerful, that we often stop deferring to our brain when we know that we are in a bad situation.
Not only that, but we make decisions about literally everything, every, single day.
When we wake up: coffee or tea?
When we're in the middle of the day: nap or power through?
When we're ending the day: shower or long bath?
When we're bored: Netflix or reading?
When we're hungry: salad or sandwich?
Every single second of the day we're making decisions and choices. That's just how we operate. So why would it be so out of the realm of possibility that we could or would also decide to love someone?
You can decide to love someone based off of a variety of things. Based on how they look, how they treat you, how they fold their socks, how they load the dishwasher, etc. But the point is, you are deciding. And that's okay.
It's not, and will never be a bad idea to decide to love someone because they treat you well. Or because they make you laugh. Or because you can be your most authentic self with them.
No matter what reasoning you have for choosing to love someone, you also make the decision to stay. Every second that you don't end a relationship with someone, you are making a decision to be in said relationship. Every morning that you wake up and are still in a relationship, you are making a decision. We decide on everything, including who we love.
4. Our feelings should be consulted, not relied upon.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a variety of feelings that we experience when we're in love with someone. And those feelings should be consulted, but shouldn't take the reins when it comes to matters of the heart.
Feelings change. Constantly.
I'll give you a perfect example of this. In an effort to be healthy, I often feel like I should have a salad. What happens next, generally, is I wait too long to make food, become painstakingly ravenous, and then I feel like I need Taco Bell.
See how feelings change? lol
On a more serious note, feelings do change. Consistently and often. They're not a super steady foundation to base any decisions upon. And while it is important to listen to our feelings and consult with our intuition, I think there has to be a healthy balance of feeling and fact.
So if a guy you're dating says he isn't sure exactly what he wants in your relationship, it doesn't really matter if you feel like he'll come around. The fact is that he's uncertain about you and about his feelings about you.
Consult your feelings, but don't leave facts in the dust.
People often say, "I can't help who I love!" or "You can't choose who you love!" And, that's just simply untrue. We choose everything every day. So why do we act like Love has this almighty power over us, and we are just pawns in her grand scheme?
I think the feelings we experience when we're in love are without a doubt the most wonderful, exhilarating, magical feelings in the world.
But I also think that we're choosing to love that person. We're deciding to be there, every day.
The same way we decide if we want coffee or tea.
That's all I have for you today lovelies. I hope this has given you something to think about. Know that I'm thinking of all of you and I'm so grateful for our community.