Love is a choice. We decide to do it to proclaim our commitment to someone who matters to us. As soon as you do not understand this–and still believe that love is an emotion–you are bound to fail in your relationships and constantly be hurt.
There are many ways to love someone, and we do our best to make that someone happy. You might be sick of them, or they might be driving you crazy at times, but deep down inside, your heart will still love them unconditionally.
As we grow older and enter and leave relationships, we will realize that our mind–not our heart–decides whether to stay with the same person. Our mind chooses to love them daily despite all the flaws and shortcomings they have as a person. When we choose to love someone, we will have a real connection.
Love as we know it
Love is difficult to define, difficult to measure, and difficult to understand. In today’s society, everyone’s definition of love is different because our experiences with it vary from person to person.
Oxford defines love as “an intense feeling of deep affection.” It says that love is the intense attraction that makes people want to be close and intimate with someone else. But is that what love really is?
We were raised to think that true love happens when you meet the right person at the right time. We have been living in a fantasy that there would be a slow-motion scene or an air flipping one’s hair indicating that that person is “the one.” We’ve been watching Disney movies and reading books that became our standard for love, waiting for our “happily ever after.”
We are so immersed in the idea of love that we often forget to consider its ugly bits. It is often described as a beautiful feeling that expresses affection and friendship. However, love also makes us vulnerable to danger, pain, and suffering.
The 5 Love Languages, according to Chapman
Saying “I love you” is not enough to prove that you love someone. We often say, “you don’t act as if you love me,” to someone who says they love us, but we do not see nor feel it.
Referring to Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages,” there are five ways that people in relationships express love: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts.
Words of Affirmation
As mentioned earlier, the infamous sentence, “I love you,” is never enough, and we can show our love to someone with this love language by expressing our affection through words of praise and appreciation. It may be through love letters, sweet chats, or compliments.
People with this love language feel loved when their special someone is present and gives them complete and undivided attention when together. This includes putting our phones down, active eye contact, attentive listening, and doing things they love together.
People with “Physical Touch” as their primary love language wants us to show our affection through physical interaction. They feel loved when we hold their hands, hug them, kiss them, and even simply cuddle on the couch at the end of the day. They love us to be close to them physically.
Acts of Service
This does not mean that we will be servants or a slave to people with this love language. It simply means that they feel appreciated when we do things and help them. This includes helping them with household chores, holding their bags when they are tired, or helping them with school work.
This love language is not about the value or the price of the gift we give someone. Although the gift itself is significant, it is the time and effort we have put in choosing what we provide them with that values the most. The gifts we give them also prove that we know our special someone.
The bottom line is love is not just a feeling. It requires action. That action is something we decide to do for our loved ones.
Love is a choice
Every day, we meet people in our lives who are intelligent, caring, and lovable, and we may even characterize them ‘suitable’ as our partners. If we describe love as an emotion, a thing that we can’t control, we may have already fallen in love too many times.
Yes, we feel love, but we can not build any relationship if we do not decide to act and choose to love that person. Love is not a fantasy. We know that we will do anything and accept everything for someone we love.
Love is a decision, not only a feeling. It takes work and commitment to maintain the relationship and make it work.
Changing for the better
We have habits or vices that our prospect or partner may find annoying, irritating, or unlikeable for them. For us to prove our commitment, we choose to compromise or give it all.
It is love that we choose to stop smoking. It is love that we decide to minimize the time we spend playing games. It is love that starts learning their language or dialect. It is love. It is our choice to be better.
We cannot live in a fantasy that we can change every habit we have to make the relationship work. Sometimes, it may be our partner that cannot leave their practice or lifestyle.
To make the relationship work, partners talk and decide how to overcome their differences and compromise. And it is not always easy to make that choice, but it is always worth it.
Leaving it all behind
Not all relationships work despite all the actions we have done, all the sacrifices, and all the decisions we made together. Ending the relationship is not an absence of love. It is the opposite.
When everything seems not to be working anymore, it is love that we decide to leave. We become exhausted after years of good memories and having each other’s back through ups and downs. At that time, we choose to prioritize our love for ourselves and protect what we still have to keep us sane.
The love we need, the love we must give
Our decision to love is not only limited to loving our partner, our parents, or our friends. It is not plain love that we need. We need radical love.
As defined, radical love is fueled by compassion, humanity, and understanding. These three components help us decide about loving someone, or something, without expecting anything in return. Through radical love, we can feel that no love given is being wasted. And if we receive this kind of love, we think we are not a prisoner of someone or something.
The love for our country
Patriotism is our love for our nation. It is not just about buying and supporting our products or visiting local tourist spots. We sing our national anthem every Monday at the flag-raising ceremony. We proudly say the lyrics, “Ang mamatay nang dahil sa’yo,” but do we really live up to this oath?
Many of our young people are consumed by social media; some may participate in so-called online protests, but is it enough? We have seen this kind of patriotism from the youth in the recent election. Many went out to the streets to fight for their future, encourage more people to exercise their right to vote, and vote for the truth and good governance.
The love for others
Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.1 John 4:20-21
It is said in the bible scriptures to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Our love for our nation is not separate from our love for our fellow citizens. We must fight in the power of our love of others for the oppressed—the farmers with no land to till, the workers with no food at their table, and the poor with no shelter they may call home.
Radical love for our neighbors means that we should be the voice of the voiceless and the defender of the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
The love for ourselves
After all, we cannot give love if we do not have enough love for ourselves.
It is also essential to be comfortable with ourselves, happy, and content with what we have. In that way, we will be able to give love to others.
They say “loving is a radical choice,” but for me, we are radical; that is why we love.
I believe that love is something you choose, not something that chooses you. Many people choose not to love because they don’t want the responsibility, are afraid of being hurt again, or don’t want the commitment. But if you’re willing to make a choice, then it’s something worth fighting for—especially our nation’s independence from oppression.