The Difference Between Choosing To Love And Falling In Love

by Paul Hudson

I have mixed feelings about love. I'm not talking about love as a concept; I'm talking about love in practice.

People are bad lovers. Well, we’re bad at a lot of things, but we’re especially bad at loving. If I have one belief, it’s that evolution of the human race has stopped.

We believe that we are separate from the rest of the animal kingdom because of one thing: our intelligence. The evolution of the modern human was all thanks to increasing intelligence. We're simply smarter than other animals.

The beauty of intelligence is that the more of it you have, the more you can cultivate it. Intelligence allows for more intelligence. Notice that I said “allows for." Intelligence needs to be developed vigorously -- something that most people in this world either don’t have the ability or resources to do.

We’re really smart, but we’re just not smart enough. We're stuck in a dangerous position. Stupid people are passionate about topics they don't understand -- simply because they don't want to understand them. They choose to remain ignorant, but they also try to become leading authorities.

One of the topics that people don't understand is love. And the only reason they don't understand it is for lack of trying. The information is out there; people just don't want to understand.

You read that right. We don’t want to understand love because we enjoy the idea of it.

The only reason you want to fall in love is because the idea of love makes you feel all nice and fuzzy. No love is entirely unselfish. The act of falling in love is completely egocentric and shallow. Unless you understand this, you will never fully understand love.

Think about it. How can you know if you truly love someone when you barely know that person? You may think you know this person -- that’s what love does to us -- but you don’t. People think they fall in love all the time, but they're not truly in love.

That last statement isn’t as contradictory as it sounds. You should think of falling in love as simply the beginning of something that could potentially change your life. It’s just the starting point of what might be a beautiful love story.

But a starting point is all it is. Falling in love can lead to actually being in love, and being in love can lead to actual loving. And in order for you to love, you need to choose to love. You need to choose to be loving. You need to look at the person you're with and choose to love that person all over again.

Falling in love may feel like it just happens. To an extent, it does "just happen." But loving is voluntary. You must choose to do it. It won't be easy. It’s easier when the person you’re with is right for you, but it isn’t always going to be smooth sailing.

We're wired to be selfish. Selfishness is a core behavioral trait. You can't do anything for others until you understand the concept of selfhood. And you can’t have a concept of selfhood without some predisposition to selfishness. We're selfish for one simple reason: We would die if we weren't.

Egocentricity is basic, but people aren’t. We’re psychologically complex. We’re capable of understanding dualities that other beings can’t comprehend. But when it comes to love, all that intelligence seems to go out the door. We stop thinking and allow ourselves to be driven purely by emotion. We allow instinct to guide our decision-making.

How many couples split up because they "fall out of love"? How many of those couples could have made it work if they better understood love?

The truth is, you can’t fall out of love. You can only stop being in love.

Being in love is a passive state. It’s the highway to loving. You can’t love unless you’re in love first, but you can stop being in love before you make it all the way to actually loving. That’s really all there is to it.

When you choose to love -- when you wake up next to this person for the umpteenth time -- and for the umpteenth time you thank your lucky stars that this person is still a part of your life, that’s love. You only love one day at a time.

With each new day, you restart the process -- if you’re lucky enough. And if you’re smart, you’ll do this for as long as you possibly can.