The light switch, and the choices we make

I used to believe that love, in every sense of the word, was a light switch:

Something flicks on. We get an overwhelming sensation.

It hits us like a bag of bricks. Or a strong arrow.

When we know, we know. Right?

Not so much. After all these years, I don’t see love that way anymore. I’ve placed Cupid right next to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Love is a series of choices. The first choice is based on many many factors, including chemistry, principles, logic, humor, intelligence, body type, where we are in our lives, what we want/need…

The list goes on and on and the weight of each factor varies depending on the individual. Based on these factors, we either choose to begin the process to love or not. If we decide to enter this process, the action of loving can bring “light switch” moments. The way he looks at us. How hard she makes us laugh. The notes he hides in our purse. The way she makes us feel when we don’t feel anything.

But like an airplane flight, there is turbulence. The fights. The disagreements. The little things that bother us. His OCD. Her shopping. We start wondering if we’ve made the right choice.

Once we are in doubt, we have to make another choice: to continue to fly with this person or jump out of the plane. This choice is based on a thousand other factors, again depending on the individual and where they are in their journey.

If we decide to jump, the scary free fall will either make us stronger (grow) or miserable (depressed). But sooner or later, we’ll find ourself back at the airport waiting to board another plane. Then we hit turbulence. Or maybe there is no turbulence. Maybe we’ve changed our mind about the destination. Either way, another choice: Fly or jump?

Love is making a choice every single day, to either love or not love. That’s it.

It’s that simple. Either to continue the process or not. We fall in and out of love. Even in relationships, especially in relationships. This doesn’t mean we don’t love the person. It means we are left with a choice. There is a difference between feeling love for someone (caring about a person) and loving someone (choosing to love that person). We may have love for someone forever, but that doesn’t mean we choose to love that person forever. The choice to love is not a feeling; it is an action.

That is why it is so difficult. It requires us to do something, and I’m not just talking about buying flowers. It might mean putting our wants aside and sacrificing career moves. Also, like chemistry, the ability to love is not a constant: It is a variable. It fluctuates, depending on where we’re at in our life and what we’re struggling with.

Sometimes it is easy to love. Sometimes it is extremely difficult. But at the end of the day, it’s always a choice.

Although love varies, it also deepens. This means the longer we stay on that flight and embark on the journey together, the more fruit the process will bear. Our investment pays off. Our choices become easier. We not only become stronger as a couple, but also as individuals, assuming the love process is healthy—which means we are both doing work. The choice to love creates opportunity to hit notes in life that we could never hit alone, and this is what makes our choice worth it.

So, how do you know if it’s love? That is not the question to ask. The question is: Do you choose to love this person or not? Right now. Not tomorrow. Today. Make a choice. Yes or no. If the answer is yes, love as hard as you can. Love with everything you’ve got (your capacity right now at this point in your life).

If the answer is no, then let the fall make you stronger.

Sabi nga nila “Kung kaya pa ipaglaban, baka mahal pa. Pero pag hindi na kaya ipaglaban, baka hindi na mahal.”

I’ve really started to work on me and be a better person; or at least be the person I once needed when I wish I had someone.

Life line

"It was always about you."

This was the first domino of my irritability. But the apex of my irritation was my realization that I was telling about how anxious I’ve become since the news of my relocation. Yet the only responses I think I am receiving were random snaps of disinterested looks and stories about their class. But i was wrong. Blinded, even.

I should concede first, that for all I know, because Bin could be having a really rough time right now and simply not want to talk about stressful, negative things. As a result, maybe Bin is externally projecting and getting the as much happiness so we don’t have to deal with the deeper problem.

I understand now. Slowly, we will understand.
I was selfish. I admit that. And i was sorry.

The one thing that I’ve always admired amongst successful couples that I know is their ability to completely be there for each other. At times, some of my friends will completely drop off the face of the earth if their loved one is going through something serious and difficult. This could be misconstrued as a negative trait, but I actually think it takes a tremendous sense of maturity to fully give oneself to someone and to emotionally be there for them.

How do we know when we have this ability? I believe that we can’t reach that level until we have cultivated a degree of self where we are finally able to fully love someone else and learn to put ourselves on hold. But how do we learn to put ourselves on hold for someone else? Is it a matter of how much we love someone? Or is there a threshold that we need to hit personally before we can learn to fully give ourselves? And just as a caveat, you don’t need to always fully put yourself on hold for someone else, but I do think that in certain situations, you need to have the ability to at least temporarily PAUSE yourself.

I learned that when your significant other tells you that they’re having a rough time and wants to talk, I should talk to them. Hopefully they won’t have to beg you about wanting to talk and you’ll just know. But in the event that we can’t all be good people readers, I would hope that if someone tells me that they’re having a rough time, I would be able offer my time and a listening ear.

Oddly enough, although I am irritated, my main takeaway before is the notion that we shouldn’t enter into a relationship unless we are fully ready to give it our all.

But i digressed from this notion recently. I still think everything is worth it. Both are doing their best, it’s just that circumstances or maybe a portion of either one’s attitude causes the setback. After all, true love, as they say, is a sacrifice — A myriad reasons of giving, even if you cannot receive anything back.

I feel like people end up falling in love with the lust associated with a relationship and this relief of not being “forever alone.” We love the idea of being able to say and hear things like “I miss you” and “I love you” to someone, but we don’t understand that the real foundation of a relationship is not so glamorous. In our haste to simply be with someone, we neglect to actually be with them. What is a relationship if you aren’t ready to commit and give yourself? I don’t think one needs to completely discard their sense of autonomy in a relationship — after all, the people we choose to date should complement us, not complete us.

The person we are with should be our partner, our other half, our equal, not our life line. We can’t expect them to be our constant source of happiness or for them to be the one to fix all of our problems. All we can ask is that on a bad day, that they be your shoulder to lean on, or on a good day, for them to be someone who you can share laughter and happiness with.

But I do think that we need to take on the responsibility and remember that we are holding someone else’s hearts in our hands.

We may not be able to solve our significant other’s problems, but the least we can do is fully be there and try. Because at the end of the day, giving it all doesn’t have the power of fixing everything, but it does have the power of letting someone know that someone will be there when things aren’t okay.

I’ve been left with my thoughts again.
I realized something:

Wisdom is what we gain from what we learn by applying our intelligence.

There are many people who blindly follow what they know without having the experience to wisely apply that knowledge. This was impossible to understand when I was young. But as i get older, i am slowly understanding this process — a subtle yet profound chipping off of the EGO, and letting go of what is left of my pride. Just like a rough rock that slowly undergoes weathering, the things i’ve learned in school and in books are both being disproved and applied in what i call ‘real life’. They are being smoothed so that one will be wise enough to know when, where, how and why these knowledge should be used.

And as i have concluded, maturity really comes from experience. Many mentally challenged people are wise enough to know their limitations and they ask for help. That I think is a sign of humility. There are many intelligent people who lack this.

While we make intelligent plans, life seems to just laugh at us.

An extraordinary life doesn’t just happen. It is constructed, crafted, curated.

We ought not simply “go with the flow,” then. Going with the flow is nice and easy for a while, riding the current to wherever it might take us. But eventually everyone ends up at the same place: the rapids. And then, unprepared, we’re in for a world of hurt.

An extraordinary life—a life to be proud of—is a decision. Not a single decision, but a myriad of little decisions each day. Daily decisions about money and health and passion and contribution. One day at a time. These decisions add up until one day you look over your shoulder and realize you’ve created an extraordinary life.

If this seems insurmountable at first, that’s because you’re looking too far ahead. You need only worry about making today extraordinary.