The older I get, the more I realize how little I know about life, love and how everything in this world works. When I really think deeply about life, love and decision making, my head starts to hurt from all the possibilities.
We control so little in this world, that our time and energy is best spent embracing and focusing on what we actually can control.
How does that relate to love you ask? Let me explain.
The following are several very important things I have learned about love over the past few years.
Love is a decision.
When I was younger, even just a few years ago I didn’t fully understand this concept. I had heard it so much before and always dismissed it as just a bunch of nonsense. Over the past few years, I have learned how true this ‘love being a decision’ really is.
Love is not something we stumble upon. It is not something we fall into. It is not coincidence.
We choose to love. We decide to love. There is a certain time and place this happens.
Choosing to love when it comes to friends, family and relationships is a decision we make. We can’t have one foot in. We can’t be wish-washy. We love or we do not.
It is so incredibly easy to embrace and praise the good in people, but so hard to accept the bad that may come packaged up with it.
People are not perfect. Every single one of us. We are all sinful beings with flaws and selfish ambitions that many times we ourselves are blinded by.
When we choose to love someone, we are accepting them for who they are. We are choosing to love them for all of their greatness and all of their weakness. We cannot pick and choose bits and pieces and expect to have a real loving relationship with them. We love them for the person they are, not for who they may be someday.
Love is unconditional.
Love is not an – if you do this, I will do this relationship. Contrary to popular opinion, love is not a two way street.
When you choose to love someone, you are choosing to love them regardless of what you get in return. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Sure, we can choose our friends and romances. However, we cannot choose our family members. Often times, for many reasons they are very hard to love. We may not agree with the decisions they make or the way they conduct themselves. While we are always entitled to our own respectful opinion, love is caring for them and respecting them anyway. By loving them, we will support them and their decision making.
When we love, we choose to do this and simply cannot waiver at all.
Love is selfless.
Love is putting others above yourself. That means love is putting others happiness before your own.
Perhaps the hardest thing to do in a world full of sinners is to put others above yourself in any way.
Of course, we want to be happy. That is in our nature. It is also in our nature to think we always know whats best.
However, when we choose to love someone, we choose to put them first. We choose their happiness over our own.
When you truly love someone, you will do anything and everything to make them happy. Their happiness will be your priority, regardless of what that means. The process of making them happy will not feel like a chore. Why? Making people you love happy will in turn bring you happiness. To give is to receive ten fold.
Love is respect.
I am a firm believer that loving someone is to respect them. Sure, respect should initially be something earned – given to people who deserve it. However, when we decide to love someone, respect comes bundled up in that love. We simply cannot love them without respecting them.
When two people love one another mutually, they respect one another in every way. Respect is trust. Again, though people might not agree with one other all the time or every decision they make – to love is to respect. Where there is love, there will always be respect. If there is not respect, there is not real long-lasting, true unconditional love.
Love is sacrifice.
If there is anything I have learned from my past relationships, it is that to love someone is to sacrifice.
When we love, we are sacrificing so much. We leave ourselves extremely vulnerable in doing so. That’s scary. Whether we love a stranger, friend, family member or are involved romantically, love is sacrifice.
How? When we love we are willing to give it all. I can say with integrity that everybody I truly love in this world I would take a bullet for with no hesitation. I would sacrifice my life so they would live. That is the measure in which I understand love. Would I give my life for this person, with no recognition for doing so? Love is willing to give the ultimate sacrifice.
There is the opposite side of the coin as well. When we love someone, we need to be willing to let them go – be it a friend, family member or romance.
You can call it tough love, but it is really just understanding people grow apart and there are countless variables in this world that affect loving relationships.
If you believe someones life may be better off without you being an active part in it – love is letting them go. An amazingly tough thing to comprehend. Love is trusting God’s plan. In turn, love is respecting them to make the right decisions along the way, regardless of the outcome and sacrificing your own relationship with them for the greater good in their life.
Love is a risk.
As I said before, love leaves you vulnerable. Love is risky business. This is the scariest part of loving anyone. Being vulnerable is an extremely scary thing.
I would argue however, without risk there is no reward. I wouldn’t trade any one of my past relationships that went sour for anything. The risk was always worth the reward.
The risk was the price and the reward always made this life worth living. Life starts at the end of our comfort zone.
We live in a fallen world and people are sinful. Even those we invest so much, love and look up to will consistently fail us. Friends, family and lovers will always fail us. We will undoubtedly fail ourselves as well. To love is to understand this important fact. We understand we will fail them and they will fail us time and time again, but accept those lows for the highs that come with it.
Love is fearless.
Despite love leaving us vulnerable and being risky, love is fearless. That means love is without fear.
Fear paralyzes us from being the people we were made to be. We cannot love if we live in fear. Love and fear do not mix.
When you love someone, you give them everything. You can’t give everything when fear is holding you back. When you love, you fight for that love despite the fear, obstacles and adversity in the way.
Love is everything.
I am thoroughly convinced that without love we have nothing.
It starts with us. We must first love ourselves before we have any chance of being able to love others the way we were made to love.
When we love, we see value, we see worth. Our eyes are opened to how special somebody is and what they bring to our lives. That said, we can only love others if we first understand and acknowledge our own self-worth and how special, unique and loved we truly are first.
Without love we have nothing. Love comes from God.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:8, “Whoever does not love, does not know God – for God is love.” This is one of my favorite verses ever. It serves as a constant reminder to love to the absolute best of my ability, every moment all the days of my life.
Love is a privilege. It is such a special thing. To love, is to know God. With God, we have everything.
Thanks for reading.