Love: What It Really Is, and How You Know It’s the REAL Kind

Love- one of those words that literally has over a million meanings and interpretations. Love is a noun and a verb, and versions of it become adjectives and adverbs. I’ll spare you the vast number of definitions you can find in the dictionary (although I’d encourage you to look for yourself- just for perspective)- but I may refer to a few throughout. Love is a powerful, and somewhat paradoxical thing. Love can lead you into the happiest, most fulfilled life you’ve ever lived, yet it can drag you down into the darkest, loneliest place you’ve ever been. Love can heal, and love can destroy. The good news, however, is that the right kind of love is a TREASURE. It is multidimensional, most likely more-so than you’ve ever realized before. And when you find it- when you find TRUE LOVE, and learn how to use it correctly- you’ll be rich in life and in your pursuit of true happiness.

Fairly early on, in my own story, I learned an important point about what love is. It is a feeling, yes. BUT, most importantly, it is a CHOICE. Most of my growing up, I only understood it to be a feeling. Love was a feeling that I had towards my parents, siblings, and family. It was a strong and reciprocated affection- a caring for one another. I loved my friends, my teachers, even my pets- I truly appreciated them, and I felt happy to be around them. A few chapters into this story, I experienced a new kind of love. I met someone, and the love I had for them was different, and MUCH more complex. This love story, I will talk more in-depth about in another post, because it definitely needs its own separate discussion- but just know that it totally shifted my perspective.

Photo: Kavin Bradner

Photo: Kavin Bradner

At first, this love was still just a feeling. It was a feeling of wanting to spend every waking minute with this person. I wanted to learn every part of their story, and to know them through and through. I wanted to learn what made them tick- what shaped them into who they are- this person I began to love. But, as I’m sure most of us have come to realize, this euphoric sensation of love isn’t always persistent. In fact, this isn’t real love at all- it’s simply admiration, or even infatuation. The fact is, people aren’t perfect, and life is kind of insane. Things will arise that may cause this sensation of love to fade for a bit, but thats when real, true LOVE steps in.

What real love is, is a CHOICE. When we choose to love someone, we are fully committing ourselves to them. This love is unconditional. It is the love that we are shown our whole life by the One who created us, and it is what we were created to do for others. This is the love that gets you through anything. Although it applies to all relationships, it is most important in a partnership. The feeling is important too, of course. But when those warm fuzzy feelings of love fade in some moments (which, as imperfect humans, they are prone do to), this love gives you hope. It gives you the strength and determination to push through those tough, sometimes even dark times. It prevents making a devastating decision out of a lack of that feeling of love. In a relationship, when you throw around the term, “I don’t love you anymore,” what do you really mean? Personally, when I uttered those words way-back-when (before my perception of real love had matured), that meant “I don’t feel that feeling of love towards you right now,” not “I’ve chosen to break my commitment to you.” That’s the difference. Even if you may not feel it sometimes, you must always CHOOSE LOVE.

FRIENDS, love is SO POWERFUL. Use it and treasure it. It is truly a gift- one that was given to you before you even came to this earth. Know the difference between when you feel love, and when you choose love. I can assure you, the latter is much more important for a healthy, happy life.

Photo: Kavin Bradner

Photo: Kavin Bradner