What is love?
Love is so many things to so many people. It’s the air that we breathe, it’s the beauty we see and feel, it is the feeling that fills us with joy and sometimes gives us butterflies that flutter about our stomach! But I wonder, is love a decision? Is it something that we create and cultivate in our minds consciously. Over the past months, I have spoken with many people on this topic and many attack this notion, claiming that love is a feeling that consumes us. There seems to be a consensus that the feeling of love is not something we can choose or control. I’m not sure. From my experience, love often seems to be confused with passion, infatuation, lust and other similar emotions. And in some cases, one’s feeling of love can even be associated with experiences such as verbal or even physical abuse. As human beings, we create all kinds of associations with what we consider love. Much of this seems to be built upon experiences from our past, most originating in childhood. Imagine a father that is verbally abusive to his children. These children might naturally associate their mental framework of love with these verbally abusive behaviors.
I have one dear friend that at 36 years old says he has never felt love outside of the love he has for his family and friends, which as he says is a much different expression of love. For reasons that even he does not understand, he has associated love with intense and sustained passion that is primarily expressed through sexual encounters with his partner. This tends to be his barometer, yet he is clearly needing constant stimulation of his dopamine reserves (did I say that right?) to sustain his feeling of love.
Most recently I’ve been triggered by some experiences that beg for me to re-examine this question of love being a decision. I hold that it is. It’s clear that there are all kinds of emotional triggers that enter our energetic field that give rise to experiences of lust, passion, infatuation and beyond. As human beings, we have the mental capacity to process our feelings and decide what we will choose to do with them. As we become more connected with our capacity to feel authentically and consciously choose how we will respond to our emotions, we develop the capacity to move away from reactionary behaviors as we move towards conscious responses that integrate mental processes as a tool to navigate through our life in an attempt to create experiences that are more desirable, and hopefully, more healthy.
What do you think? I’m quite curious!