The Creative Cafe
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The Creative Cafe

Love is a Choice not a Feeling.

You love me you say. Why?

If you can’t come up with at least five or so reasons from that question easily, you do not love me. You love the idea of me. Maybe you like how I look or how I make you feel. The attention I’m giving you. But that’s not about me at all is it? That’s about you. You don’t know me, not really.

People are largely mistaken on what true love really is. They think it’s a feeling. It’s not. They think it’s butterflies and obsessively thinking about that person all day long. Wrong. That’s infatuation. It’s fun, but it’s not love.

Love is pain. And sacrifice, but it’s also the most beautiful thing in the world when it’s real and reciprocated.

Imagine someone knowing all about you. Everything. Even the small things. The things you are embarrassed about and don’t want anyone to know. Imagine messing up, and even letting that person down. They forgive you. They are wise enough to read between the lines of the situation, and they don’t judge you for it. They love you.

They even notice the small things, like that scar above your eye. You hate it, but they think it’s cute. It’s part of you. The way your eyes dart around the room when your nervous. Cute. The way you tear up when you’re at a funeral. They love your heart. Your compassion. They know you. That’s love. It’s being FULLY known, and accepted.

You don’t have to be perfect for the person that loves you. They wouldn’t even like you perfect. Your flaws make you unique. And give them the space and permission to be just as human.

I’ve had a lot of men be infatuated with me. A few who I actually believe understood me and got me enough to fully appreciate me. i.e. love me. It’s an amazing feeling and left such an impression on me that I now recognize counterfeit love much quicker.

I asked “Joe” we will call him, once, why do you love me? His answer?

Because you’re beautiful.

That was the end for me. That is not love. He was infatuated. Who wants someone who only “loves” them because of how they look? Gee, thanks.

What about the way I laugh or the way I play with my hair when I’m nervous? My stupid jokes. My ability to nurture my child? The way my eyes light up when I feel super happy? You can’t love me if you don’t know me.

Some know there’s more there. But they don’t care to look. They don’t care to take the time. I am not meaning to sound so high and mighty, but it’s a real problem. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I am sure there are many men and women who only care about status, how their partner looks and what they can do for them. Self-serving love is not love. It’s selfishness. Its a tripod of passion, intimacy, and commitment. You have to have all three for it to be lasting love. Infatuation is so strong that people often mistake it for love.

Robert Sternberg, a North American psychologist who based his studies off human intelligence, wisdom, hate, and love.

Nothing turns me off more than selfishness. My dad is a psychopath and he was hopelessly selfish. He would show my brother and I love in the form of gifts. New car. New TV. A vacation. I am not saying giving gifts are bad, but when that’s all you have to give. Mmm. I don’t know. He was hopelessly selfish. He would often behave as a child. Now when I see this trait in a man, I want to vomit. It disgusts me. It’s so repelling to me that I can’t stay. I leave if there’s more selfishness than selflessness. He’s a divided man and I can only hope and pray he changes one day. 14 years in prison could do a lot to a person.

But not everyone is my father, and I know that. This is just something that personally triggers me. I can’t deal with selfish men. I just can’t. I want a loving, giving, sweet, and confident man. Hopefully they still exist. I know no one is perfect, but some people are more selfish than others. I would hope to find someone who tips the scale in the right direction.

This goes two ways I know. We are all selfish on a certain level. But a good person will try and give of their time, their money, their efforts, and energy to the people they care about. They will do their best.

When someone loves you, they love all of you. They see where you are weak, and they understand.

They don’t judge it. They may not like it, but they are patient with you. They trust you. They trust in the better side of you and believe in who you are. When they are upset with you, they talk to you about it in a calm way. Not shaming. They care more about the relationship than they do about being right.

When you love someone it’s not so difficult to accept their flaws. It just comes naturally.

You make a choice. You don’t always feel love. Sometimes you have to wake up to that person who’s disappointed you. Let you down in a big way perhaps. In that moment, do you think you’re going to feel so loving? You’re not. But it’s a choice. You choose to be kind. You choose to be sweet to them. You may kiss them on the forehead and tell them good morning. Have breakfast with me. You put yourself aside. You give despite your hurt feelings. It touches them, and then they will most likely feel like shit for being a brat to you and apologize and you both can go about your day loving each other. See? Selflessness is a precursor to love.

You bring them coffee when they’re sad. You surprise them with little gifts that are unique to them or the two of you. The best relationships have a perfectly split 50/50 of give and take. They call it codependent when one person is doing all the giving. There are so many relationships like that. No one will ever be 50/50 all of the time. But that’s the aim.

So that person you are dating or in a relationship with. Ask yourself. Do they really know you? Would they have to scratch their head if someone asked them why they love you? Life is too short to give your heart to someone who doesn’t fully appreciate you.

There’s also no timeline for love. My brother fell for his now wife quickly, but I know other couples who it took them months, and others who broke up a few times and finally settled into love. It’s a different path for everyone.

Maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe they are just ignorant and can’t appreciate a good thing when it smacks them in the face. It’s sad but there are people like that. Maybe they don’t want to see it. Maybe they aren’t ready to see it. They could be afraid to be confronted with your inherit value and the responsibility of caring for your heart. Some people also self-sabotage things out of fear.

Think of it this way.

Can you be mad at a pig for trampling on the pearls you tossed before him? He doesn’t value them? Why is he stomping on them and getting them all muddy you ask? He’s a pig. He doesn’t know any better, so you can’t take it personally can you? Pigs can’t comprehend a pearl’s value. Some people just don’t get it. They’re not yet quite self-actualized. They don’t understand why they do the things they do. They’ve yet to see whats valuable or important in a partner. They are living for the moment-for a feeling. When you do the work of loving someone, the sacrifice of giving of yourself, the good feelings naturally follow. If you reap the work, you will sow the reward.

Love is sacrifice. It is sometimes that feeling right away, but not always. Feelings come and go. Real love stays.

It’s a verb.

An action.

A choice.

A sacrifice of yourself.

It’s an investment.

If you show someone love, that doesn’t mean they are going to love you back or that they should either.

Wait for someone who gets you first, and then decide whether or not you feel the same. Unrequited love is painful. Wait to love someone who loves you back. Someone who can appreciate and understand all of you.

There are all kinds of people in the world. We’re all very different. Don’t assume someone thinks the way you do.

When you know what you’re looking for, it’s easier to find it. It’s also easier to dismiss people who don’t embody the traits you appreciate. When you don’t know what you want, you are embarking down a road of confusion and sidetracks.

I read this French proverb once and it really stuck with me:

“Love, like bread, has to be made over. It has to be made new.”

This suggests that love is some work. It’s not just a feeling. You do the work (the energy, sacrifice, time, etc) first and then you reap the benefit of the feeling. And what’s more — it lasts.

Anything else is infatuation and will ultimately fade, and usually within a few months. Love at first sight is nothing more than infatuation. You like how they look. You’re attracted. There’s nothing wrong with that, but looks fade. Newsflash-we’re all gonna die one day.

Why not wait for someone with a heart of gold who will bless your life? Can you laugh with her? Play with her? Can you be vulnerable and cry on her shoulder when you feel like the whole world is against you? Those things bury seeds deep in your heart. Love grows. They last longer. And I dare say, you even need them.

“Love is friendship set on fire.” -French Proverb

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