Blog UF Mind #13: Love is a Choice
Updated: Aug 17, 2021
By Sabine Grunwald
#Love is like happiness – we invite genuine love into our lives. Sometimes we hold onto and want to possess love. This usually does not end well. Love may slip, we may fall out of love with somebody, and crash down to the reality of life. Or worse, we may judge and blame ourselves depriving us of the love that we so long for. What is true love?
Love is one of these mysteries. It nurtures and enriches our lives. I believe that most of us would chose love over hate. Though our nation body of American culture seems somewhat engulfed by #hate, anger, and aggression rather than love. Elie Wiesel, American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1986) and Holocaust survivor who was deeply humiliated in Hitler’s death camps and barely survived said “The opposite of #love is not hate – it’s indifference”. This invites us to engage, actively in seeking love, and to choose love over an indifferent and possibly unfulfilling live that is full of hate, anger, or even worse.
The famous psychiatrist and best-selling author Scott Peck (Peck, 1998; Peck, 2003) marveled “love is the will to extend oneself to nurture one’s self or somebody else’s self for the purpose of spiritual growth.” This is an invitation to turn towards ourselves and others. Every time we mindfully turn toward our spouse, partner, child, student, teacher, client, a stranger, a sick person, and an enemy that we may perceive as evil, despicable or hateful holds the potential of bringing forth love. Turning toward somebody who is other – different in terms of race, religion, beliefs, political affiliation, views, it comes in many flavors – is a loving act. Can we see beneath the hateful speech and angry demeanor of somebody or the #indifference and passivity? There is goodness and a warm heart in every person. Paradoxically, our experience of the sameness of being human brings us closer to love.
Chapman (2014) says that #love entails five languages:
Love language #1: Words of affirmation. Words that emphasize the pleasant, joyful, and beautiful aspects of life. It is easy to speak and hear words of affirmation we are intimate with, somebody we trust dearly, and who is open. Can you speak lovingly to a co-worker, parent, stranger or your worst enemy?
Love language #2: Gifts. A gift coming from the heart is something that says “I was thinking about you. I wanted you to have this, I love you.”
Love language #3: Acts of service. In our self-centered society the idea of service may seem anachronistic, but the life of service to others has always been recognized as a life worthy of emulation. Are you a public servant, a servant in the community, or loved ones? A service that comes from the heart, not out of responsibility or expectation by others.
Love language #4: Quality time. We may be in the presence of people all day long, but we do not feel connected. Quality time means time of genuine togetherness, undivided attention, mindful listening, a shared space where both are fully present.
Love language #5: Physical touch. When we were babies, before we could even crawl, we thrived on love. Babies who are held, hugged, touched tenderly develop a healthier emotional life than those are left for long periods of time without physical contact. In modern society we are often afraid to be touched and create distance because it could be misinterpreted. In Western culture we are afraid to touch due to our socio-cultural conditioning. So we sit back in loneliness and physical isolation. No hugs, no touch, perhaps a text message or tweet instead. The body is made for touching to bring forth love. Creating intimate spaces with partners and loved ones to touch is an expression of love. A hug is love. We all make choices every moment to love or not to love. What is your choice?
Chapman, G. (2014). The 5 love languages. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publ.
Peck, M. S. (2003). The road less traveled, timeless edition: A new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth. New York, NY: Touchstone Publ.
Peck, M.S. (1998). People of the lie – the hope for healing human evil. New York, NY: Touchstone Publ.