People think falling in love is this extraordinary, all-encompassing feeling of being completed by someone. They think falling in love is a once in a lifetime opportunity that needs to be seized with haste. We see from romantic comedies that falling in love is what sustains healthy, long-term relationships, that falling is the genesis for older couples laughing and holding hands on the street.
Starting as early as childhood, we are conditioned to believe falling means shaking hands with fate, and nothing is as tantalizing as dancing with fate and fantasizing about life with that special someone. The depictions we see on screens and read about in YA fiction, are, for the most part, false impressions of love. We are mistaken about what we think love is, because love is not a feeling, it is a verb.
Even the dictionary itself has defined it as the former, but it’s time people began to realize what love really is — a choice.
Humans all over the world have quixotic expectations of what love is and what it should be. Love isn’t exhausting your energy meditating on a person, obsessing over when they will text you back. Love isn’t becoming indignant when a person responds in a way you didn’t expect them to. Love isn’t always getting your way because you believe when someone claims to love you, they’d do anything for you. I doubt stories passed through time illustrated love the way we see it today — the love people expect to be given now is a selfish and subservient kind of love, a toxic and one-sided love; this is the type of love that shatters us. We live in an age where everyone falls in and out of love, whether that’s with one person or many. Falling in love is more than just a delusion perpetuated by lust — it’s infatuation fueled by a triad of chemicals that delude our judgment and depreciate love to an ephemeral state.
You shouldn’t fall in love because falling is a mental state of being, and saying you’ve fallen in love is an unsubstantiated expression. When you fall in love, you can just as comfortably fall out of it. You should challenge yourself not to fall in love again, because falling in love is the watered down version of choosing to love. Falling is a feeling, and feelings are fleeting. One moment, you could be overly enthusiastic about a person; a few seconds later, you could feel completely apathetic towards them. Love shouldn’t be based on a transience; it should always be there, a constant in one’s attitude towards others and a reflection of oneself, no matter what one is feeling at that minute.
Love is the conscious awareness that choice is freely given, and choosing to love someone takes daily effort, repeated effort. A parent’s love for their child is unconditional — regardless of whether he or she had a tantrum or behaved well in school that day, a parent will irrevocably continue to love their child. If people who were dating approached love without any restrictions, similarly to how a parent loves a child, there would be less heartache, more compromise, and most importantly, more kindness towards one another, which could help preserve any relationship.
The choice to love a person should be decided upon only after we experience the beauty of who that person truly is — beauty in being unabashedly themselves, whether it’s how they handle stressful situations, how they act around others when they are not on their best behavior as a result of wanting to impress you, how they act when they think no one is watching, and how they treat you when they are angry at you.
Once you sensibly decide to love someone with all that you have, the love you choose to give them will grow, little by little each day, and it will burgeon for as long as you allow it.
Don’t ever forget the choice you made to love them, and never expect them to change for you. Accept them for who they genuinely are and meet them where they are under that facade, in their flawed but most sincere form of being. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to love someone after a month of knowing them or after a year, because once you decide to love, all that remains is that you continue loving them from here on out. So love, choose to love, because at the end of the day, that’s the kind of love that will last.