I have a confession to make. I read cheesy romance novels. The kind of novels where the woman has a great career and doesn’t need a man, but that doesn’t matter. She finds one anyone in an epic adventure of suspense, mystery, and yes, passion. Sure, at first she doesn’t think they’re a good match and she might even (gasp) hate this man, but as the story unfolds, it’s obvious that they are made for each other. Love descends upon them both in a flash of brilliant desire and boom, happy ending for our couple.
Of course, these novels aren’t realistic in any sense, and no one really takes them seriously. Hidden between the pages, however, is a misconception that has permeated our lives. It’s the idea that “love happens magically,” as if meeting the right person at the right time will ignite it. Only those of us who win the love lottery will get to experience true love.
I’m not talking just about romantic love either. Whole industries are built around helping people whose parents didn’t love them enough. We expect strong and enduring loyalty from our deepest friendships, and when we don’t receive the high standards we expect, friendships break. Fights with our siblings can turn to days, weeks, even years without resolution. Why? Because we expect certain relationships to be full of love without reservations. That’s how it works, right?
Well, maybe not. Consider this: Love doesn’t just “happen.”
It took me a long time to figure this out, and even then, I probably wouldn’t have figured it out on my own. I was going through a particularly bad point in my life where I withdrew from most of my family and friends. One friend, though, decided that I needed love and gave it to me, even when I didn’t appreciate it, even when I didn’t want it. He put up with a lot of negative emotions from me, up to and including me telling him he should get out of my life. Yet, despite that, he stayed. When I asked him about why he was being so nice to me, he wrote this:
“I have always believed that love is a choice, not an emotion, and as such it can be freely given without conditions.”
And he’s right. Love is a choice, not an emotion. Once I started looking at my relationships as a choice, and not just a series of obligations, my life vastly improved. Because like many gifts, love reciprocates. The act of giving love often makes it come back around, in a form much fuller than if you just wait around expecting it to happen.
Of course, choosing to love someone means you might not always get back what you want in return. However, that’s the beauty of choice. If the act of giving love makes you feel sad, angry, or miserable, you should rethink why you’re giving love in the first place. But you may also surprise yourself. Sometimes, giving love is enough that you don’t even need anything in return, and may create more love for you despite how the other person treats it.
So take a moment and consider the love contained within your life. Instead of wondering how much you’re getting, appreciate how much you’re giving. Find ways to make giving love a more central part of your life. And don’t forget that you don’t have to win a “love lottery” to find love; you can create it yourself.
Photo by Courtney Carmody
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34 thoughts on “Creating More Love in Your Life”
The best things about love, giving and getting, should be unconditional. When you have no conditions for loving things, people and situations, your life blossoms. That’s the best way to do it I guess.
It takes some mental training to feel like giving love unconditionally is the best way to go, especially if you’ve been geared the other way for a while. It’s not necessary an easy transition, but it has certainly made my life a lot fuller and richer than in my early 20s.
Great post, thank you so much for sharing.
I agree with what you said in the beginning of your piece about there being an underlying theme of being lucky in love. And that it will magically happen.
I feel that love is not only a choice, but a creation.
Just like we create hurt and destruction, we can also create love.
It’s whether we choose to make love in our life, that we will feel and receive love in our lives.
“Love is a creation” is excellent. Choice doesn’t quite capture the effort that goes into it. I think I’ll start using yours instead. :)
Love, love and more love!!!! I have won the “LOVE” lottery – a magical thing indeed and why not compare it to the “money” lottery????
In love, light and bliss,
I’m assuming, though, you’re giving love as well as receiving. That’s the key difference. You have to keep giving to keep receiving, otherwise, you’re not getting the full effect.
What a great message.
We were just at two family weddings in early June. It was a reminder that no matter what magic and beauty happens on the wedding day, it is accompanied by years of intentional love and caring for one’s partner and more importantly, for the relationship. And of course, it doesn’t have to be a marriage for stepping across this relational threshold. But it always requires an intention of love and care.
Thanks so much.
Congratulations on your family’s weddings. I hope they are filled with years of love and caring, even through the tough times.
really needed to hear this now – thanks
I hope everything is going well in your life, Kate. No matter what happens, know that you cannot “fail” in love. I’ve certainly made mistakes along the way, but I’ve always been able to pick myself up and create love again in many aspects of my life.
Here’s how I look at love: the more you love, the more vulnerable you are and liable to get hurt. The less you love the less vulnerable you are and more likely you are to live in prolonged emptiness. A loveless life is an empty one. A very poor trade off. So yes, love and be open to getting hurt. Or don;t and guarantee living with the pain of invulnerablility. A life of love opens doors to both pain and happiness. Keep it shut and happiness stays on the outside too.
It is a good trade-off, and it’s one that my friend who made the original quote in my article would agree. He told me that for many years he shut himself off from the world, but it created a void. Life felt flat and meaningless. He said loving me, even when I wasn’t the best at loving him back, was worth the pain of getting hurt, and it would have done it again even if the outcome had been different.
Your message trully resonated in me, thank you. I think most people view love as the romantic love where we could fall “in-love” and “out-of-love”. But once you realize that love is a choice (or creation, as the other reader says), you start to appreciate your life, your being – all over again. It’s like being re-born.
There is also an excellent self-improvement book that discuss love as an act of choice:
The Road Less Traveled : A New Psychology of Love, by Dr. M, Scott Peck which I highly recommend.
Thanks for the recommendation. I’m always on the lookout for new reads. :)
It’s great to realize that relationships and love are a choice and not an automatic response. We are obliged to love and nurture ourselves of course because through this act we can consciously choose to love and nurture another.
It has been a journey coming to this conclusion, but a good one for me personally! It might be one of those things you can only learn through experience, but I hope you can teach it as well.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are right, love is kinda choice. It happens only when two person chose each other. The longer they can keep themselves chosen the longer they stay together.
Courtney Jones Media.
It certainly works best when both parties agree to love each other. However, sometimes love does only go one way. There have certainly been times in my life when my parents loved me, but I didn’t really love them back. Yet, I’m grateful they continued to love me despite the low points in my life, and I hope I always have the strength to give unconditional love when the time is right.
Great post! “Once I started looking at my relationships as a choice, and not just a series of obligations, my life vastly improved. Because like many gifts, love reciprocates.” It finally sunk into my mind that I get to CHOOSE everything in my life from the thoughts I think to the people I invite into enter my life. I’m no longer willing to do things out of duty or obligation. I don’t need anyone’s permission to send love out into the world or to the people close to me. I’m FREE to do what I want!
Thanks, Rebecca. A lot of article comes from the idea that, as you said, you get to choose how to view the world. Nobody can take that from you, and also, you are responsible for that aspect of yourself.
All of us is destine to be love. Only God knows when will that be. Awesome story.
Thanks. In choosing to create love, you have love with you always.
quite a hot topic you initiated :)
i agree with you that some of these novels (and many movies) fool people and program them with different false beliefs about love and relationships.
i see love from a psychological point of a view, we became attracted to those who can help us satisfy our unmet needs whatever they are
That’s an interesting thought: the idea that we tend to love those that we believe help satisfy our needs. Do you have any further reading on this subject, Farouk? I’d love to research that a little more.
This is really an amazing post! I think we swallow too many misconceptions and beliefs from others, entirely second-hand, and when it comes to a situation where love should be freely given, we sabotage ourselves.
Love indeed is a choice and it can be freely given no matter what circumstances or conditions exist, even if the person involved is not physically present when we choose to feel and give love to them. a simple act of appreciating someone can change them, or rather, it can allow them to be the wonderful person they truly are:-)
Thank you for a wonderful post!
I love the idea that we can give love even when someone is not physically present, and I strongly believe this to be true. I personally have received love from people even during times when I have withdrawn. It sometimes comes as a phone call or even months later when they share a memory with me during those times. How you think about people often affects how you act toward them, in their presence and absence.
True love is a choice but it really hurts when you don’t get it back.
“Of course, choosing to love someone means you might not always get back what you want in return. However, that’s the beauty of choice. If the act of giving love makes you feel sad, angry, or miserable, you should rethink why you’re giving love in the first place.”
This paragraph is so beautiful and true. If it does hurt when we don’t get “it” back then we do need to re-evaluate why we’re giving “it” in the first place.
Giving love can be a huge risk depending on the situation and can cause a lot of pain. I agree with you completely that it can really hurt, since I’ve been there. I do believe, though, that when you do get it back, or if you can manage to give without expecting anything back (a very hard skill), it is also one of the most rewarding, beautiful human experiences. We all, however, have to weight the risks whenever we decide giving love is good for us.
Great Post :-)Thanks With love from Ukraine!
Hi, Deborah… I agree that love doesn’t just happen. But sometimes, you may happen upon a chance occurrence that if taken and run with, may turn into a love you couldn’t have dreamed of. Enter the story of me-n-Hubs. I’m a newbie blogger but am in love with writing about love and relationships. I’d love you to read my blog post entitled, “White picket fences: they never look how you imagined… they’re better” here: http://bit.ly/g04AoO. All the best! Donna
Love happens. It’s not at all a choice. Being “made for each other” really happens :)
I suppose I will have to respectively disagree. I agree that people can be made for each other in the sense they are very compatible, perhaps even to the point of thinking they would never want to be with someone else. I’m certainly in that state with my current husband.
Even in those cases, though, you have to choose to give love. It’s a gift, from one person to another. If I believed love just “happened” instead of it being a gift, then for me, it would lose value as a precious thing shared from one person to another. The fact that my husband gives me love makes it more special than if it “just happened.” He gives it to me even when I’m not the best person I could be. And I choose to do the same for him.
It’s okay to disagree, by the way. You’ve made me think, and I hope I’ve done the same for you. Those are the best kind of exchanges in life.
In keeping with the love lottery theme, it takes love to make love in ones life. Meaning we get back what we put out.