Is loving someone a choice or an emotion? It’s fundamental to the human condition yet challenging to explain. Throughout the ages, mystics, philosophers, and religious leaders have discussed it at length, but there’s still much debate.
It’s one of those subjects that has two distinct sides. Many people believe that it’s worth the risk of getting heartbroken to fall head over heels for someone. The main question is, do you form relationships out of feelings, or is it a moral choice?
Ten Characteristics of Love
The first book of Corinthians in the Bible devotes an entire chapter to describing this feeling, also called charity. These characteristics remain an excellent guide stone. Here are the things that this classic chapter in this book explains what love is and isn’t.
- Shows kindness
- Doesn’t envy others
- Isn’t haughty and doesn’t brag
- Isn’t rude or selfish
- Isn’t easily angered
- It doesn’t “keep score.”
- Doesn’t rejoice at others’ expense
- Protective and trustful
- It goes the extra mile
The Bible goes even further to suggest that God is the personification of love. Examples in other religious traditions and sacred texts are abundant. It’s also described in countless secular literature throughout the ages.
Seven Reasons Why Love Is A Choice
Your loving spirit is a beautiful gift that you give to your mate, family, and close friends. It’s a singular kindness and empathy that goes beyond human emotion. Here are five reasons that make it a choice.
1. Love Is a Commitment
Loving someone is a decision you make to be faithful to their heart. It’s not to be confused with infatuation. When you meet a person and are attracted to them, it’s physical. As you both cultivate a relationship, you are committed and choose to be loving partners.
Let’s say you’re in a committed relationship and you see an attractive person across the room. You can’t help the emotion of finding this person attractive. However, you choose not to act on the thought because of your loving commitment to your mate.
A wise person once observed that you couldn’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you don’t have to let them nest in your hair. In other words, you have control over your emotions and can’t always blame somebody else.
2. It Remains Even in Bad Circumstances
If you’re in a romantic relationship, you can verify that it’s not always champagne and roses. There’ll be times when you’re so angry at each other that you want to walk away forever. Grief, loss, frustration, and dark seasons of the soul are inevitable, but you’re still together.
Whether you’re married or in a committed relationship, you’re together through the blessings and the woes. Your heart is steadfast regardless of if you’re wealthy or poor, sick, or healthy. If you cherish your significant other only by emotion, it will diminish when the going gets rough.
3. You Pick Who Stays in Your Circle
There’s an old saying that you can’t pick your family, but you can select your friends. Unless you believe in predestination and reincarnation, you weren’t consulted about the family in which you were born. Maybe you often wish you were born into fabulous wealth.
Yes, you choose your friends by the things you have in common. You can also decide that you’ve outgrown the friendship and part ways. Loving your friends is totally up to you.
However, the adage is only accurate to a point. Just because you’re related to people doesn’t mean you have a loving bond. Your DNA may have randomly put you together, but you decide whether they stay in your circle later in life.
4. Love Is Often Altruistic
Consider the various emotions that you can share with another person. According to an article published by the University of California-Berkeley, researchers have identified at least 27 human emotions. According to the report, these feelings often overlap and don’t have distinct borders.
When your body and mind react to something or someone, it’s not a choice. You don’t decide to feel angry when a thoughtless motorist cuts you off in traffic. If you lose a friend or relative, you don’t ponder if you’ll feel anguished or not.
It’s a choice because you often decide to put others first. You volunteer to help people in your community because you want to do it. You and your mate compromise and make sacrifices for one another because you’re committed to the relationship.
5. It Knows How to Forgive
Forgiving a person is just as much a choice as loving them is. It is not a compelling emotion like empathy, and you offer it with your own free will. It’s an unmerited favor that benefits you just as much as the offender.
When someone says or does something to offend you, you automatically feel hurt, betrayed, and defensive. These are emotions that you don’t choose. However, you can decide to forgive and not be bitter, and that’s a loving choice.
You, your mate, and those in your circle will offend and forgive countless times in your life. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you excuse or forget the offense. You’re thoughtful and choose to acknowledge the insult, forgive, and move on with your life.
6. Love Designates Boundaries
Setting boundaries is another choice you make when loving others. You and your partner cherish each other, but you set healthy boundaries. These rules define how you expect them to treat you, and vice versa.
You choose what you’re willing to do or not do for that person. For example, you may decide not to live in the same city as your extended family. You still have loving connections, but the distance is better for all of you.
You may adore your children more than anything in this world, but they know how far to push you. Establishing boundaries also allows you to cherish yourself. Loving folks doesn’t mean you’re a welcome mat to be trampled.
7. It Looks for the Good in Everything
The late Will Rogers, an American humorist, once observed that he had never met someone he didn’t like. Of course, Rogers wasn’t saying that people didn’t have faults and other disagreeable habits. He had learned to see the good in everyone despite the bad.
It doesn’t make you so naive that you think they are perfect when you love others. You empathize with their imperfections and adore them anyway. When there are difficulties in your relationships, you choose to be positive and find the blessings.
Four Reasons Why Love Is Also an Emotion
As if the discussion couldn’t be any more confusing, there are compelling reasons why it’s also an emotion. It has choice characteristics, but it still appeals to your thoughtful nature, as well as your senses and feelings. Here are four reasons why it’s an emotion.