And no, we aren’t getting a divorce.
You see that picture up there? That picture is a part of history for me. It was the day my then boyfriend and I decided to enter an exclusive relationship. December 7, 2006. I was barely an adult at the age of 18 and he was a typical college boy at 21. And in those last eight years a lot has happened. We’ve traveled. We’ve grown. We explored. We learned. We’ve fought. We gained trust. We nearly broke up. We made each other cry. We reconciled and vowed to be each other’s support system. But in all the years I’ve spent with the man I’ve grown with, I’ve never fallen in love with him.
It’s not because I wasn’t fond of him and it’s not because I thought he wasn’t worthy. It’s because falling in love never seemed that appealing to me. Throughout my college years and early twenties I’ve seen what falling in love has done to even the strongest of my friends. They’ve gotten into things they shouldn’t have. Some forgot who they were. Some let the connection with their friends and family fizzle. Some of them plateaued, got comfortable and never grew. And some have fallen so hard in love that they lost their voice. I look back at it now, and can’t really say I can blame those friends who found themselves in a trap and fell in love.
After all, there are so many catchy quotes about falling in love.
“Love can make you do some crazy things.”
“Crazy, stupid, love.”
or my favorite from Sex & The City: “She was a smart girl till she fell in love”
The list goes on and on.
Any of those ring a bell for you? They were certainly in the corners of my mind for years making the idea of falling in love unappealing to me. But even knowing all of those things, I still can’t say I was above the mistake of occasionally letting love get the best of me. I’ve certainly found myself in my fair share of unfortunate incidents due to the power and stupidity associated with love take over. I mean who hasn’t? I remember very vividly the times I went to parties or wore things I shouldn’t have when love clouded my judgement. But despite all the pathetic, stupid and down right absentminded things I did all in the name of love, I never once allowed myself to lose sight of who I was meant to be and I never ever fell off the pedestal I believed I belonged on. In fact, my husband did all he could to remind me of the reasons I belonged on that pedestal. Because of him, I never fell in love. With him, I’ve risen in love.
It’s a small tidbit most people seem to miss. I blame the blockbuster movies, the fairytales we’re told as children and the bad advice from our well meaning friends. We spend a countless amount of time trying to find the right person to fall in love with, when we should really be trying to find that special someone to rise in love with. Falling should never be the goal. Instead, the goal should be to rise together so you can experience new dreams, do good, and touch each other in the most meaningful of ways. Be inspired to rise and be a better person with the love you have chosen. You never want to be the one to say, “I’ve fallen in love and I can’t get up.”
All too often, we, especially women, are willing to change who we aspire to be for the sake of keeping a man. It’s not something that happens so abruptly or consciously, but rather something that seems to happen gradually over time. Suddenly, the decision to skip that gym session every once in a while, drinking that glass of beer when you shouldn’t have, and refusing to enroll in that class you’ve been eyeing to please your other half becomes a habit and common place. It keeps happening oh see easily, until in a blink of any eye you don’t see yourself anymore. It’s only a matter of time until you feel lost, confused, unhappy or unable to recognize who you are. After all is done, you are most likely left wondering, how, when and why it happened. The answer is simple. You fell in love.
Now, I don’t want you to think this happened because the person you fell in love with is bad. It may be that the person is just bad for you. No matter how pure the love is, some just happen to bring out the worst in you instead of the best in you. If you are not sure, consider asking the following:
1. Do you feel inspired to be a better person when with your love?
2. Have you grown since entering the relationship?
3. Have you lost sight of goals, aspirations and desires you once had?
4. Do you find yourself engaging in new bad habits?
The answer isn’t always so easy. The grey areas surrounding love and whether or not you’ve fallen are infinite. But I can assure you there is no question when you’ve risen in love. Not only will your heart skip a beat and smile with pure joy, but you can’t help but look around in awe as you realize how far you’ve gotten together. You’ll recognize all the positive that has happened since the person entered your life and you continue to strive to reach new heights. Most importantly, the love you have for yourself will grow even more.
I was fortunate enough to find a man who never made me fall in love, but helped me rise in love. With him, I’ve become a better person, reached new heights and accomplished things I never knew were possible. He’s never made me feel less then perfect and has inspired me to be a better person. With him I know I can the do the impossible.
Suddenly, when you rise in love all things are possible and your heart can’t help but smile. So to all those people in search of a partner to spend their life with, I encourage you to resist the urge to fall in love and choose to rise in love. And should that person not make it possible to uplift you through your heart and rise in love, I encourage you to rise in love with yourself.
Have you ever fallen in love? How do you know when you rise in love?
TERRIfic Words: Why fall in love when you can rise in love?