I used to think love was a feeling. Not exactly the butterflies in your belly type of feeling, but something more, something way more intense, something that was supposed to come after the butterflies and stay permanently.
However, I’ve come to realize (from experience and from watching others) that even though the butterflies may accompany the feelings you have for someone, they eventually disappear. It’s what you choose to do after those butterflies have disappeared that really, really matters.
I’ve had people ask me this question, “Have you ever been in love with someone?”, and every single time I respond, I give the same answer – “No, I only love my family”.
This is true because love is a choice and I have chosen to love my family.
You might argue that one has no choice but to love the family they’re born into, but I totally disagree. I’ve met people who willingly despise their families. They make conscious efforts to make this decision clear to their family and anyone else who might be interested. This isn’t to judge anyone, but just to buttress my earlier point about love being a choice.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve considered doing something really hurtful to my sister – especially after she beat me up or said something really mean. But because I have chosen to love her, I work towards making peace, putting the past behind and moving forward. Even though her apology may be to talk like a baby and beg me, or get something for me to eat, I choose to work with what I have and make peace.
Think about people married for the longest time. Those butterflies probably died ages ago, but they chose to put in the work and be deliberate.
Imagine if God loved us based on feelings? Or how well we behaved?
97% of the world’s population would probably be dead, but he chooses to love us unconditionally and lovingly draws us towards him whenever we fall. If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.
My wanting to feel whatever was supposed to come after the butterflies has made me make some wrong decisions. I’ve hurt people because I thought that those feelings not being there anymore meant that I didn’t like them. If you fall into this category and you’re reading this, I’m really sorry.
Thankfully, I’ve learnt that if I want something to work, I have to put in the work and be deliberate in my choices.
After all, we like because and love despite, right?
To the best of my knowledge, there will never be a time where your heart skips beats, or you begin to see the world in different colors and you’ll finally know you’re in love.
You choose to love someone. You sit down and have honest conversations with yourself. You love with both eyes wide open. You communicate with whoever you choose to love. You choose to forgive and accommodate. You hold hands and walk through fires with whom you love.
Most importantly, sex must never be confused with love. Love involves way more than your bodies and being physical.
Choose to be deliberate and make informed choices.