Being raised by Asian immigrant parents meant that physical affection was not a huge part of my growing up, and the words “I love you” weren’t exchanged between my parents and I until much later on in life. However, there was never any doubt that they did love me. My mother was always around for my sister and I, cooking delicious dinners each night without fail, and my father working hard, often two jobs, to ensure that our family had enough to live on.
My understanding of love has always been that it was a byproduct of circumstances and relationships. My parents love me, and I love my parents, but that’s simply because of the life that I was born into. In my mind, there was no other option. I consider myself lucky to have such amazing and loving parents because I know for many in this world, this is not the case. In my dating relationships, I invested time into getting to know someone, and falling in love was a byproduct of that investment and resulting relationship. It was just “supposed to happen” because that was the logical next step. We were in a serious relationship, and as such, love was the result.
My good friend, Maile asked me a few months ago, “So Mac, are you in love?” I thought, “Hmm… no.. but I don’t think I’ve been searching for love… I’ve been searching for a relationship.” My mind went for a spin that day, and I contemplated much of what I’ve been doing wrong for so many of these years.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve met a wonderful girl who I’m falling in love with, and I’m finding for the first time in my life that love, is a choice. I can proactively choose to love this girl and fall dangerously headfirst into this, or I can take the safer, tried and true road, inching slowly towards it, and protecting myself while I do it.
I share this story this evening because I know that there are people out there who are like me, who didn’t see loving someone as being a choice. There are likely others who may have forgotten to make loving the people in their lives a choice, rather than it being a given, or worse, an obligation. Love is a choice, and it is a gift that you have the power of giving to someone else.
On the flip side, I’m certain that everyone reading this post has multiple people in their lives who love you. Those people have also chosen to love you, and if that’s the case, it’s something worth acknowledging and nurturing. We may not always feel lovable; but we are. This quote from The Perks of Being a Wallflower resonated with me deeply, “We accept the love we feel we deserve.”
Do you love yourself? Can you make a choice to love yourself more so that you can accept the love that’s being shown to you by the people closest to you?