Love is a choice. We can choose to sit with the emotions, thoughts, and multi-layers of discovery it presents or we can choose to close ourselves off to it. We can choose to take care of and commit to ourselves and loved ones. Or we can choose not to; making the choice to be careless and detached from our hearts and the hearts of others. We can also choose to let love be love. As abstract or simple as it may sound, it’s making the choice to let it grow, breathe, and exist.
Although relationships (of any type) take patience, work, and dedication between all parties involved, it doesn’t have to feel like a chore but rather the quintessential aspect of your life. If you make the choice to love yourself and in turn love others with a secure and happy heart, they will reflect back to you what it is that you’re revealed to them. Although they may not express outwardly or demonstrate love in the way you desire or hope, it doesn’t mean that there is a lack of it. It simply means that it’s interpreted by another individual in a way that’s different from your interpretation.
I entered this world with a lot of love surrounding me and have experienced the beauty and ease of it through the give and exchange amongst family, friends, colleagues, and at times, complete strangers. Raised in a household in which my parents demonstrated their love for one another with ease through words and actions, I was given a solid foundation to learn by example. They have always expressed the importance of growing together rather than apart — but still maintaining their individuality through careers, interests, and friendships. They have made the choice to love and commit to each other just as they have made the choice to love and commit themselves as parents.
My mother imparted a profound sense of faith within my life. With sensitivity, self-awareness, and age, I’ve now been open to receive daily miracles in my life — both big and small as once I was unaware of their presence. Within the universe’s system of checks and balances, I’ve experienced life-altering expressions of romantic love that changed and shaped my being. Occurring in unimaginable ways, the feelings fluctuated from the highest highs to the lowest depths of debilitating pain.
What I’ve come to learn is this: love is neutral. It’s not for better or for worse because every relationship that is presented in our lives is to serve for our personal growth. We learn most about ourselves in the presence of love or lack-there-of. We discover, especially in romantic love, what makes us tick, dream, laugh, cry, hurt, feel venerable, peaceful, secure, insecure, jealous, comfortable, and liberated. We learn that there are two people involved in the relationship, not just one. Hence we are given the opportunity to learn about compromise; listening to our needs and the needs of another. It’s our emotional maturity and readiness, compatibility with our mate, upbringing, nature, and past experiences that all play into how we create our relationships. It’s not that love causes us difficulty, pain, torment, elation, joy, and contentment; it’s how we interpret it to be.
Every so often, my best friend and I discuss our true desires of being loving wives and nurturing mothers. Both of us have had this shared sense from a young age that has only deepened over time.
On our respective paths, we both were given relationships that taught us exactly what it is we don’t want and helped us clarify within ourselves what it is we do want through the arrival of other relationships. In retrospect, the events leading to the present all makes sense. But at the time, it didn’t add up. By openly admitting to ourselves how we truly want to pass the days of our lives; providing care in the home, we’ve come to a place of sincerity and peace within ourselves. I’ve often questioned, “But it could all be so easy. Why does love have to be so hard? Why do we struggle with love when all we want to do is live in the ease of it and want to create a shared and full life?” My friend’s response is always steady. “We’re doing our life’s work now — to clarify and heal ourselves as our partners are doing the same. It’s already arrived. It’s already happening. It’s already growing. Marisa, you say love is difficult; but it’s not. Stop perpetuating this idea because that’s what’s holding you back.”
My best friend was right. I was impeding the thing I wanted most in my life to the point of pushing it away. Although my actions and thoughts weren’t visible on the surface, it’s how I felt on the inside that in fact was preventing me from being open, committed, and available to let love be and realizing it was already here and I have it.