If someone asks you what it means to choose love, what comes to mind? Maybe you imagine sweeping, romantic gestures. Or, maybe you think of heroic feats. The truth is, love can look like that, but it doesn't have to. In fact, most of the time when you choose to love, it has little to do with fairytale romance or heroism. So, let's discuss what it means to choose love, along with 15 super simple ways to fit love into your everyday life.
What do you think is the opposite of love? Most of us would probably say, "Hate" without a second thought. But this inspiring quote attributed to Gandhi would suggest otherwise. Gandhi says, "The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear."
This means, that when we have the choice to choose love, it isn't hate that gets in the way. Instead, it's fear. So, before we talk about how to choose love in everyday scenarios, it's important to talk about fear first.
But safe from what exactly?
From lots of things. Things like pain, loneliness, disapproval, rejection, being inadequate, being seen for who we are, and in some cases, we're even afraid of our successes.
Love is a choice. In fact, it's a daily choice. It's not as though you earn a degree in love and magically choose love 100 percent of the time. When it comes to love and fear, we have to choose one or the other, every single day.
Fortunately, love isn't a feeling or emotion. Instead, love is a choice and an act of the will. So, even if you're not feeling particularly fuzzy and affectionate, you still have the power to choose love. And when you do, love becomes a daily habit.
So, let's dive into the 15 ways to choose love in everyday scenarios to make love your daily experience and state of mind.
Fear has been a part of the human experience for thousands and thousands of years. So, suffice it to say, it's not always easy to switch off fear and choose love. But it's not impossible. And one way we can intercept our actions and make them loving ones is with mindfulness.
What is mindfulness? In the words of Dr. Narveen Dosanjh, a medical doctor, and integrative psychiatrist, "It's when you bring your attention to the present moment and recognize your thoughts, emotions, and reactions that are happening at that exact moment in a nonjudgmental way."
Mindfulness plays an important role because it provides a much-needed pause before action. Without this pause, we automatically - and usually unconsciously - choose fear when we should instead choose love.
Being mindful is one way to choose love in everyday scenarios, but it also helps you choose love in the following 14 situations, too.
We often seek love outside of ourselves, but love begins and ends with you. And when you choose to take care of yourself - even in the most basic ways - you choose love.
So, if you stay on top of personal hygiene and grooming, that's love in action. The same goes for taking time to dress well, get a good night's rest, and seek professional support and care when necessary.
As you can see, there's nothing fancy about this. But this is exactly how you can choose love today and tomorrow.
Depending on your bio-individuality, you may or may not be able to eat specific foods. This, along with food allergies and sensitivities, helps to determine a diet that's optimal for your health and wellness.
So, if you want to choose love, choose foods that support your body and make you feel good, inside and out. Sure, you might think it's okay to keep eating things that cause pain or discomfort. But when your body suffers, it's a negative experience and not very loving.
Remember, you are worthy of positive life experience!
One way to choose love and accept your body as it is is to change your inner self-talk.
For example, when you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you say to yourself? Saying negative and disparaging things is not the most encouraging support your body needs to change and improve.
And saying, "I am fat" is a big No for energy healer and founder of Dressing Your Truth, Carol Tuttle. That's because it only reinforces and focuses on something negative.
And the queen of positive affirmations, Louise Hay, encourages people to choose love in how they speak to themselves, too. One powerful affirmation is, "I forgive myself for not being perfect." Another one is, "My body appreciates how I take care of it."
What about, "I am grateful for my healthy body"? Finally, "I love and approve of myself" can help you love your body even if it's not perfect. Saying these affirmations is a great way to choose love.
In our society, we value pushing through and hustling. You could even argue that we overvalue being tough on ourselves and experiencing stress. And while it's true that some things do take a lot of work, effort, and commitment, that's not the same as killing ourselves.
There comes the point when you need to admit that things just aren't working for you.
In times like these, the loving choice is to let go and move on. Does this mean you fail? Not at all. Instead, it's a massive victory. That's because you honor what is and isn't right for you, and you commit to creating a life you love, rather than a life you think you should be living.
Believe it or not, this is how you can choose love at work and home.
If you're still waiting for the perfect guy, you might feel scared. And this fear can make you do things you regret. Fear can make us settle for less, or give up on love altogether, turning us into bitter and resentful people.
And it doesn't help when people chide us on to find a partner - any partner - because, after all, the clock is ticking.
But you can choose love here, too. You can start to see "single" as a good thing. When you feel afraid that you're running out of time, or that you'll never find someone, pause and remind yourself of this all-important thought: the timing is perfect, and the right person will come to you at the perfect moment.
With the internet, social media and globalization, we're constantly exposed to lots of different lifestyles. And it's very easy to adopt one for yourself simply. But is that really who you are? And does it represent your deepest values? Trying to fit into an ideal might gain you lots of approval, but it might not honor who you are.
Living your truth is a way to choose love, even if it means you won't fit in everywhere. Speaking your truth and honoring it says, "Who I am is important and what I need is important, too." In short, don't sell out so that you don't miss out.
This might seem like a strange way to choose love, but it's an important one to talk about. We tend to associate a lot of shame with asking for help. And it goes for lots of things. From seeking professional therapy to asking a friend to be there for you in a difficult time, we tend to look at these decisions as weak.
One possible reason for this is that there's still a strong stigma attached to mental illness. What's more, we don't want to appear weak or incompetent.
But it's a great act of love to ask for help and accept help, not only with mental health but in all areas of life. There's no prize for running yourself to the ground and burning the candle at both ends.
Asking for help is a way to choose love for yourself and others. When you do, you admit that you're not perfect, and what's more, you're totally okay with that. And sometimes, when you're supported, you will feel less resentment, jealousy, and bitterness.
We're all pretty good at reacting. We do it automatically. But how good are you at pausing and getting quiet before you act? Doing so is how you can choose love in everyday situations.
But who you truly run much deeper, and even if someone disagrees or offers criticism, it doesn't change who you are.
Instead, it gives you the golden opportunity to see things differently. Who knows, maybe you were wrong. And maybe there are ways to do things differently.
When you act in this way, you're not afraid or threatened. Instead, you're okay because you choose love.
So, when people say negative things to you, can you listen and see it objectively - almost as though your eyes and ear aren't connected to your ego which feels threatened?
We say very negative things to ourselves - things we'd never say to another person. In some cases, we deprive ourselves of good things, and we don't show ourselves love and forgiveness.
But a good way to choose love is to forgive yourself for the mistakes you make - however big or small they are.
And when you can forgive yourself, you can start to forgive others, too. Not because they deserve it, or because you want to be best friends with them, but because you can be compassionate and empathetic with them - the same way you love yourself.
In his bestselling book, The Four Agreements, spiritual teacher, Don Miguel Ruiz shares four principles to help people live with more joy and less suffering. One of his four principles is this: Don't take anything personally.
But how is this a way to choose love in everyday scenarios?
On any given day - on most days, people offend us. It can be big or small things that rub us the wrong way and hurt us. But Ruiz teaches that the reason why we feel so much pain and allow so much negativity in our life is that we're taking everything personally.
According to Ruiz, what other people do and say has everything to do with them, and nothing to do with you. In short, how people behave is a reflection of their perceptions and perspective. Very rarely do other people's actions and decisions have anything to do with you.
And when you choose this mindset, you choose love. Why? Because you don't keep putting yourself into painful life experiences. What's more, you can look at other people with more empathy and compassion.
Wanting to be right, to have the last word, to one-up someone, or to "show him who's boss" might feel good at the moment, but these are all fear-based actions.
That's because being wrong feels threatening and disempowering to our ego. And that's scary. But when you admit that you don't have to win every argument or be right all the time, you choose love.
You choose love by releasing yourself from having to be right all the time. You choose love by opening up and relaxing.
No one's perfect, and when people irritate, anger and annoy us, we tend to focus on their negative qualities. But can you choose to see the best in other people?
The keyword here is "choose" because let's face it, it's hard to focus on the positive qualities in people, especially when we tend to think people do hurtful things "on purpose."
Maybe everyone is just doing the best they can. And while we're all figuring out how to live our best lives, can you choose to see the best in other people? Hint: it gets easier when you choose to see the best in yourself.
One reason why we make unkind comments online is that, well, it's online.
In fact, according to professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Art Markman, "The further away from face-to-face, the real-time dialogue you get, the harder it is to communicate."
One reason for this is that you're anonymous. And without as much accountability, online comments can be ruthless.
But you can choose love when you're surfing the world wide web, too. Sure, it might not be "in real life," but you're still interacting with human beings. And since we're spending more and more time online, it's a good idea to choose love in this sphere, too.
Everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect. So, if you can't say something nice, choose love and don't say anything at all.
Love is a choice, and with these 15 everyday scenarios, you get to choose love every day for a more positive, uplifting experience.
Commonly Asked Questions Below:
What does it mean to choose love?
When someone refers to ways to choose love, they may be referring to a number of different things. Often, choosing love means being good to other people. Acts of kindness, working to understand other people, and standing up for the rights of others can all be means of choosing love. Some may also say that they're putting light into the world. In relationships, choosing love can refer to the process of working to better the partnership. It can also be relevant to state that there are a number of different types of love. These can include but aren't limited to self love, familial love (such as love for parents), love for friends or in friendships, and the love that occurs in romantic relationships. All of these bonds can be meaningful.
Is love a feeling or a choice?
In some ways, love can be both a feeling and a choice. Love can also be both a noun and a verb. One individual may sometimes develop feelings for another person without necessarily choosing to consciously or giving their heart permission, so to speak. One might not always be able to control their emotions, but what they can do is decide what actions to take. For example, one may choose not to enter a relationship with a coworker, even if they do develop a crush. When someone develops feelings for someone else, the body will release hormones that can boost mood and cause other effects. This is often an enjoyable sensation that an individual may notice both mentally and physically.
Is staying in love a choice?
Staying in a relationship is a choice in some situations. At times, the decision to stay in a relationship is a healthy one, whereas other times, a person may decide that exiting the relationship is best, even if they are sad to do so. Both of these choices are okay and will vary from person to person. The support of a therapist can help regardless of if you choose to stay in a partnership or break it off. If you are thinking about how to go about healing from the end of a relationship, a therapist can validate you and help you work through the grief that may come with it. Either way, if you are thinking that you may benefit from professional care, do not hesitate to reach out.
If you need a place to discuss love and relationships, consider BetterHelp. Read more articles on love, dating, and other topics on the BetterHelp website, or sign up to get started with online therapy today.