Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love is Not a Choice

This past weekend a friend and work associate of mine enthusiastically detailed her plans to enjoy her birthday the following day. Among these plans, she stated that she was going to get a tattoo.
"Where and what?" I asked curiously.
"It's going to say 'love is a choice' really tiny on my wrist" she explained.
"I don't get it" I replied with a puzzled glance.
She then went on to explain that she believed it was the truth about love; that you don't just feel love for someone that lasts forever, it comes and goes and you have to choose whether or not to love somebody. And for some reason she felt so strongly about this that she felt it necessary to get it perminantly written on her wrist.
I replied with the first thought that came to me: "you've never been in love, have you?"
Time to get educational.
As someone raised on Catholic teachings, the idea of choosing to love is not a foreign concept to me. The Bible bombards us with messages like "love your neighbor even if they take a dump on your dog" and overall teaches to love people despite the dozens of reasons you don't want to. Let me distinguish this idea of love from LOVE.
The love that my friend had in mind was an action, not a feeling.
You can choose to show love, but you cannot choose to feel love. Similarly to friendship, it's not a decision you sit down and make a rational or logical choice about, it's a feeling, an instinct. My friend argued that there must be times when my fiancee and I are fighting that I do not like her but choose to love her. I say from experience that this is false. I love her no matter how things are between us, and there have even been times that I wished I could choose to not love her, but I can't help but care so deeply for her that I overcome my frustration.
I do not choose to love her, if anything I am choosing to give in to that love.

The moral of the story is as follows: don't get a tattoo with a phrase that represents your opinions of something, especially when it's something you've never experienced. Opinions change. I have a feeling that my friend will look at her tattoo many years in the future (and how can she not? It's right on her wrist) and while she may not regret getting it, it will be a constant reminder of her naivete.
You know what? I hope she changes her mind someday not only because I like to be right, but also because everyone deserves to know what real love feels like. The kind of love that's not an action, but a feeling. The kind of love that's not a choice.
~~Haiku Time!~~
Love is not a choice
You feel it within yourself
Someday you will see
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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