Someone once told me that love is a choice.
Initially, I was not amused. I felt something so powerful that I couldn’t just decide NOT to feel it. Yet, how many times had I “fallen” in love only to end up alone when one of us let it go or walked away? Did we fall out of love? Or did we decide to let go and do something else? Clearly, someone made a choice. So, feeling love and choosing to love are two different things.
For those who can’t seem to find love that lasts: There is a reason love in your life keeps going wrong. It starts with the choices. To love in a sustainable way is a choice, who to love is a choice. How much, how far, and in what capacity. Honestly, sometimes it is a daily choice.
I haven’t written in a while and coming back with this post on love seems an odd place to begin again. However, in every walk of life, every season, we all still want to be loved. It is a universal desire.
Okay, I hear the groans, but hear me out.
If you have never had a happy fulfilling romantic relationship or don’t right now, consider the common denominator involved. It is you. Your love life starts with you.
First, this is not a condemnation. It is an observation. (For some, maybe a revelation.) In your life, you are the one at the helm. No excuses. You make your own choices. No matter what society tells you and your own ego tells you, your mistakes are not someone else’s fault. God will lead us and guide us, but our free will is responsible for our choices.
With this insight, you are able to change the outcome of any relationship by changing the only thing you have control over, and that is yourself.
First, take a moment and consider your great loves and great failures. Attraction can be affected by a thousand factors, but to love is not accidental. We felt a feeling and then fed that feeling with positive reinforcement OR we starve(d) it, ignored it and walked away.
So, if love didn’t or isn’t working, then one of several things has happened. Either you didn’t choose love well in the first place, or maybe life went crazy and you ended up with a mess of a someone, or finally, you are the mess. In any case, you can enact change by changing yourself and your choices.
Feed the most important love(s) in your life with your best, and let go of the rest. Simple as that.
Maybe not easy, but simple. It might take a herculean effort that others won’t even begin to understand, but how long are you going to be in a dysfunctional relationship or looking for love in all the wrong places? How long are you going to limp along in bad health, or unhappily alone? Life is too short to be unhappy. Seriously, we are too important to God to just wither on the vine, miserable or drained.
If you are in a relationship, you will need to feed it and yourself with great stuff. If you are alone, you still need to feed yourself with great stuff.
But first, you have to dump the ugliness of life, the evil soul sucking lies and confusion that does not come from God.
Dump the blame, burning anger, debilitating jealousy. Stop the soft flirtation with someone else’s spouse, the wink relationships, destructive porn, and ego just to get started. Dump self flagellation, self loathing, and guilt over the past. Tell it to go and ask for forgiveness.
Say the destructive things out loud and tell them to go out of your life. If you are a Christian, tell them to go in Jesus’ name. Shout “Anger, be gone!” You will be surprised how good it makes you feel to clean house this way. “Guilt, get out!’ Ask God for forgiveness and send all that nonsense packing.
Then, ask God to fill those clean empty spaces with the fruits of the spirit and real love.
Pick up all the fruits of the spirit. Say them out loud and invite God to fill you with steadfastness, to make you slow to anger, not jealous. With purpose, ask for gratefulness, kindness, and for him to help you be considerate.
Ask God to help you see what is right in your relationships and multiply those things. Pray that he will help you stop looking at the faults in your partner and focus on their positives.
Ask God for self acceptance and for joy.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Start feeding the best relationships in your life with gratitude, joy, and interaction. That includes the one with yourself. Take better care of yourself. Reconnect with God. Touch base with family.
Starting right now, feed the good parts, and starve the bad parts. On a daily basis and in the aggregate, you get what you feed and focus on.
If this concept or idea needs some further explanation, READ THIS: Your inner voice. What you whisper to yourself is powerful.
In a nutshell, get a hold of yourself, and THEN get over yourself. The world doesn’t revolve around you and your needs. We all have needs and wants. All of us have issues and loss. No one is unscathed even when they appear to have it all.
You are not evil or a failure. God loves you and there is hope for your future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Take note: To love someone is not an accident of nature, a sickness, or an unfulfilled lust. It isn’t something you do when you are happy and life is perfect. Real love is both a choice and an ongoing choosing.
Who we love, and then how we love is part of the choice.
In fact, we choose to love someone in spite of their faults. Or, we choose to be unsatisfied by our relationship and sabotage or dump it.
Choosing to love is to love that person regardless of time, circumstance, or any other thing that attempts to come between you and said person.
It isn’t always easy. Loving someone sometimes is a daily choice, but it has to start with the commitment to love someone beyond difficulty, and beyond our own egos, beyond tragedy.
To be clear, people who tell you that love shouldn’t be hard have probably never had a long lasting relationship, because great love is and has always been hard.
To love requires great commitment and it takes work. In fact, at the root of every great relationship is the decision to move beyond the attraction and love when you don’t feel like it. Either you are all in or you are not, and your lack of commitment will reveal itself quickly.
Are you a love slacker? Ask yourself if you are like the guy or girl at work who is always late, has a bad attitude, finds fault, is argumentative etc., but in your relationships?
Do you mother, smother, crush, refuse, or neglect? Take stock right now.
Tell these destructive love habits to go, In the name of Jesus. Ask God to fill those places with his type of love. Love that never fails, is considerate, honest, kind, humble, and not self seeking.
You will have moments when you don’t want to love your person. Possibly, you will have moments when you don’t want to be in the same room with them, so that first choice of who you love is vital. A good choice makes the long term how easier.
Own it. You can do it. Choose. Instead of falling into something destructive or running after someone because they are there, step back and take stock. If you slow your roll long enough to understand yourself, you can know what it is that you truly want and stop letting people into your life that are destructive.
You can also start treating the ones who are already there better. Your relationships go beyond the romantic and feed off each other.
If you are constantly waiting for other people to make a mistake, treat you poorly, or prove you are not worthy of love, then you need to work on yourself. Try this post below if you are anxious, jealous, on edge, or looking for an out. “Become the person you want to be deep down. To love and be loved starts with caring about yourself and being a person you are proud of.” To love and be loved: what I learned from being single and finding love again.
Finally, maybe you need a refresher course on caring for yourself.
Self love isn’t about ego and selfishness, but balance, healthy choices, and self acceptance. A person with good self esteem and balance will have less conflict in relationships. They are refreshing to be around.
You have control of your own life. So, own your mistakes, your choices, and take hold of your future. Choose love that is good for you and brings out your best. Then be a better partner.
Barefoot and choosing real love,
You might also enjoy: Love & acceptance of myself is a golden filter. – Barefoot Inspiration