How often do we equate love to feelings? When asked about why we love someone, we are quick to describe our feelings because they’re the easiest to explain. But is that truly all that love amounts to? Just feelings?
Would something that’s supposed to bind us for a lifetime just rest on the premise of feelings that can be so fleeting and so fickle sometimes? Shouldn’t there be more to love? Shouldn’t we consider feelings to be more of a by-product of love as opposed to love being a feeling?
Love is a Choice
I like to think of love as the choice we make that determines the direction a relationship will take. Whether we like it or not, love is a choice. Yes, it doesn’t sound very romantic but that’s the thing about facts, they exist whether we accept them or not. The reason why most relationships fail is that people have failed from the onset to look at love for what it really is.
They ride on a wave of emotions and feelings, deluded into a reality only meant to exist for a short period of time. They equate love to mere feelings that are subject to constant change that they end up messing up the whole experience. But why should love be considered a choice and not a Feeling?
Look at it this way: we all have preconceived ideas of what love should look and feel like (regardless of whether we are wrong or right). We know what sort of people we find attractive physically and emotionally.
We’ve cultivated these ideals and tastes over time and our mind registers them the moment they’re in sight. It is not mere physics or chemistry that makes our blood rush, prompting us into action. That’s lust, or simply, attraction.
But love is that thing that stays way past the attraction stage…sometimes even when all aspects of the physical attraction have gone out. Someone once said that “No one falls in love by choice, it is by chance. No one stays in love by chance, it is by work. No one falls out of love by chance, it is by choice.”
When they say no one falls in love by choice but by chance, it means no one wakes up one day and says “Hey, I think today am gonna fall in love!” It doesn’t happen like that. But it’s a whole different thing when we say love in itself by its nature is a choice we make, consciously or unconsciously.
We are Responsible for our Feelings
You’ve heard people will say, “I can’t control my feelings,” or “I didn’t choose to fall in love with that person.” Lies. We are responsible for our feelings and because of that, we are responsible for how we react towards anything that wishes to engage our feelings. In this case, love. Because, if indeed love is a mere feeling, wouldn’t it be asking too much to expect it to last a lifetime?
- Firstly, we decide what constitutes love based on what we’ve experienced or been taught. This is why sometimes we wonder why a certain someone married ‘someone like that.’
- Secondly, we are responsible for our feelings, no one else is. We allow people to make us feel a certain way. Remember, chances could be that others have acted towards you the same way that person did but you rejected them. You erroneously assume that this person has the power to make you feel some way but they don’t.
- You gave them that power and you can easily take it away. Your mind simply registered what you already fed it about what you find attractive and when you met this person, fireworks went off. In this case, love would be what happens when you decide to respond to that attraction. Again, it’s a choice you have to make.
Love is a process
Love is a process because if it truly is love, it will go beyond the initial phases of attraction. Consider how we sometimes find ourselves attracted to things that are obviously not good for us. Whether we like to admit it or not, long-lasting love happens after we’ve put certain things into perspective. It’s the reason why your parents will tell you, “You don’t just marry anyone.”
Real love is a process because;
- There’s an initial attraction
- A response to that attraction
- A decision to go steady
- A commitment to love, honor, and respect
- Conscious effort to stay in love
Some of these processes happen so quickly that we don’t even realize they’re happening. It’s very easy to undermine the power of logic because of the physical and chemical processes taking place but if truth be told, it is our mind that makes us aware of the presence of something we find attractive because we once made it aware of that standard and now it’s simply reacting according to the settings we fed it.
Consider that feeling of excitement you felt when you got your degree say five years ago. Do you feel like jumping up and down every time you look at your certificate? Of course not. However, your mind remembers that feeling very well and so it makes you appreciate your sense of achievement that propelled you to where you are right now.
And here’s the thing; someone told you that obtaining a degree has benefits and so your mind has attached that to something positive that’s why you celebrated that first time.
Furthermore, it was not going to be enough to continue riding on the wave of excitement because immediately after obtaining the paper, you were required to start searching for a job. The feeling was fleeting, quickly replaced with stress but unforgettable. It’s a decision you made, to give more meaning to that certificate by getting a job.
Love is like that: it’s something beyond a mere feeling, it’s a process, a deliberate choice you have to keep making. It’s a life-long commitment.