I feel like all people fall in love at least once in their lives – not because they find love, but for another reason. It’s very difficult for me to believe love – romantic or other – could exist outside of our minds.
People always say they find love, but they really find someone they can love. And then they choose to love. Sometimes falling in love seems entirely involuntary.
That may be the case, but only so much as breathing is involuntary. You breathe naturally, as you love naturally, and although you may not choose to breathe, you can choose not to breathe.
Sure, it’ll kill you. But living a life entirely void of love is a worse kind of fate than even death itself.
People don’t so much choose to love; they choose not to love. Again, this has more to do with the person in question rather than ourselves. If people don't have qualities we believe are lovable, then we won’t love them. At the same time, however, since everything is a matter of perspective, it all comes back to us deciding that someone isn’t worthy of our love.
Your perspective, your reality, your thoughts, dreams, beliefs outline what characteristics and actions are deserving of love. It may not feel like you are actively deciding because your perspective is primarily the result of past experiences that have become go-to markers in your psyche, but the fact is that you – the person you are as a whole – decide how accepting you are of love and whom you will be capable of loving.
This is the only way I can explain how it's possible for individuals to fall in love over and over again. Once you fall in love, the only thing you want is to continue being in love. We get so incredibly high off being in love that, without it, life feels bland, lifeless. Pointless even. We get high that first time and do whatever we can to hold on to that feeling of pure bliss – that feeling of ecstasy. Unfortunately, that feeling is doomed to fade.
That initial feeling of falling in love has a short lifespan. Not because it’s impossible to truly love someone for the rest of your life, but because those feelings you’re experiencing aren’t really love. They are the result of the colossal changes in your life and your perspective that resulted from falling in love.
Falling in love changes the way you see the world. It changes the things you deem important and changes your visions of your future – all because you found a person you believe worthy of dedicating your life to. You feel the way you feel when you fall in love because you believe yourself to have unlocked a truth you previously weren’t privy to – an epiphany of sorts that changes your life forever.
So when that initial feeling of bliss fades, which it will, you’re likely to worry that the love is fading… but it’s not. It’s settling into a resting state. This often scares the life out of us. We go from being high up in the clouds to crashing back down to earth, back down to reality.
This is why most relationships fail: Those in the relationship have a difficult time surviving in that calm, resting state. They have a difficult time enjoying the peace and tranquility love allows for. Instead, they search for that next fix, that next high, that next emotional rush.
So relationships end. Love is forgotten. And we move on with our lives, taking all the things experienced, mistakes made and lessons learned to our next relationship. We call this "baggage."
As do all animals, we learn from our experiences. In our early lives, we start to figure out the difference between good and bad, the difference between good characteristics and bad characteristics, and the difference between good people and bad people.
We experience things, learning more about ourselves in the process. Once we hit a certain age, usually around puberty, we begin to truly develop our interest in our preferred sex and, relatively shortly afterward, find our first love.
It’s almost always a shallow sort of love, our initial love. It’s shallow because we don’t yet understand what love really is. We don’t understand its purpose, its benefits, its necessity.
Nevertheless, because we are incapable of understanding what we don’t know, what we have yet to experience and to learn, we believe the love we have to be true love. Even if things don’t work out, we’ll continue to believe what we experienced was love – because, in a way, it was.
But then comes the next person. We find someone worthy and we fall in love. The past love seems to fall short of the love we now have because it has to fall short. If it were not to fall short, then this new love would never be the love we are looking for.
We compare everything, people and romantic love included, to our previous similar experiences. Everything is always being compared and always being judged; it’s our nature. And because we are always looking to move forward in life, we are always looking for something greater, rarer, more powerful -- and more beautiful.
Our first love begins to look nothing like love. Now that we have found someone we feel we are in love with, the last person doesn’t seem to stay up to par. Does this mean your first love wasn’t really love? Yes and no. It was a different kind of love. It was a shallower, simpler, less-informed type of love. But love nonetheless.
Once you choose to love, you love. Or rather, once you find no reason not to love, you love. You shouldn’t sell your past loves short as they were your entire world at a previous point in time – a part of your history, a part of you, that you shouldn’t forget.
Does this mean there is always a greater love out there waiting for us? No. As to all things, there are limits – even only if time limits. Life will not always get better and you will not always be capable of loving more.
Eventually, you will need to reach and be content with that calm, resting state or risk being alone for the rest of your life. Realize that when you’re in love, it’s because you are choosing to love, and you may have a chance of holding it all together.
Your first love you once believed to be true love. Then you were certain the following love was it – that he or she was the one. But you stopped loving. You chose to keep searching, to keep looking, to keep moving, not allowing yourself to stay in that comfortable, resting state.
If you keep going like this, you’ll one day yearn for that peace, for that calm, for that happiness. You’ll yearn for the embrace of that last love of your life because you will realize that that’s it.
You have no more to learn. You have no more that you need to experience. You have nothing else you need or want more in life than that last, first love. And then what?
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It