“Love” vs. “In Love”

img_0101I’m going to tell you a secret. Every romantic book, movie, song, poem, and show you’ve seen or read or listened to has lied to you, all your life.

Let me explain. In all those mediums, love is described as fleeting, passionate, volatile, painful, and sometimes described as limiting. In reality, true love is the opposite of all these things, at least some of the time.

Love is freedom. Love is freedom to be your flawed, bruised, broken self without fear of losing the love you’ve been given. Love is freedom to love others, because when one loves truly, it opens the heart to love more. Love is so much more complex than we all have been led to believe, and yet is so universal.

True love is constant. Being in love and all it entails, the palpitations, the butterflies, the infatuation, the attraction, is all well and good in its place. But, it comes and goes, as it ought to do. If we were in love and infatuated constantly, there wouldn’t be anything special about it.

Falling in love is a result of many things. These are usually pheromones, the subconscious, and physical and personality attributes. It is an unconscious process.  

But love? Love is a choice. Love is the choice to stay because of promises made and deep care for another person. This occurs despite the fluctuation of “feelings,” those transient little mischief-makers that we allow to have too much say over our thoughts and actions. Feelings are what drive being “in love.”

Being in love is, at its core, inherently selfish. It is not destructive or malicious towards others, but it is self-serving and self-involved. Being in love is about “me” and “the way you make me feel.” Love is putting the other person and their happiness before one’s own. (It’s important to distinguish that this putting of another first is not done at the total expense of one’s own happiness. Self-love is incredibly important, and can help us to love others more freely and generously.)

If you’re lucky, you’ll fall in love, be in love, and love many times in your life. If you’re truly lucky, all three will be brought on by the same person your whole life long.


  1. You are incredibly smart for such a young person. (I’m allowed to say this because it is often not until one has experienced a great deal of life that one reaches the conclusions you have described.) Your wisdom, as garnered from your writings in “Grace and Good Humor”, give those of us at the other end of many years great hope for the future. The world is yours to sustain and improve. It will only be through the kind of love you describe that the world can change. Love is personal, for sure, but following the example of Jesus, it is for all to give and to experience. Thank you for your wisdom. Keep spreading it.

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