How do you know if you are truly in love? You will know when you are, but it is easy to confuse it with other powerful emotions. So you will not know for sure until you’re there.
I thought I was in love many times. I now know that I wasn’t because once I was truly in love the differences were great and unlike anything I’d experienced before.
Many emotional states can trick us into feeling that we are in love. You are probably familiar with many of them. The problem is that when we’re experiencing these emotions it’s nearly impossible to get ourselves to think rationally and believe otherwise. Why? This happens because we want to believe it is true love and not something less noble.
We crave love. So it is easy to fool ourselves into believing that what we are feeling is love when we know deep inside it is not.
Here are some common emotions that masquerade as being love. I’ve composed this list in the second-person narrative mode (you) so that it might be easier to feel the emotions should one or more of them apply to you. Several of them certainly apply to me in my younger years.
- Lust – Your overwhelming desire for someone is interpreted as love. But it’s an unstable foundation that can’t be trusted. Lust crushes rational thinking and leaves you blind.
- Need – Deficiencies and heartaches within yourself drive you to seek a patch or a fix from another person. This can’t be done. (To experience being in love you must have yourself and your life in order.)
- Desperation – You’ve never had a relationship or you’ve been between one for a long time. Your desperation to fill the void leads you to believe that the person you’ve just met is the love of your life. That’s what you desperately want, so that’s what you trick yourself into believing.
- Fear – You’ve just broken up, moved to a new city, or started a new job and your emotions and vulnerabilities are extremely high. These powerful emotions trick you into believing that the person you just met is “the one” when in fact they are just a crutch to quiet your fears. (During a major transition, especially after a breakup, it is wise to put off getting involved in a romantic relationship until your emotions and life has stabilized.)
- Ego – Your envy of your friends being in strong romantic relationships drives you to believe that you are in love with the first person who comes along. Your ego fools you into believing that what you’re experiencing is true love. The problem is that since it probably isn’t love, the letdown will be greater than the discomfort of waiting – till a good match comes along.
When you’re truly in love, there are some unique emotions that happen. You’ll notice a huge shift in what you feel and how you behave in comparison to the false loves listed above. Here are the feelings and experiences of being in love.
- Vulnerability – You’re willing to drop your shield, be uncool, be silly, and be rejected to express and show your love.
- Unselfishness – You’re more concerned about doing things that bring them joy and pleasure than you are about them doing these things for you. (If they are in love with you, your thoughtfulness will come back to you many times over.)
- Patience – You’re willing to wait to be intimate until they are completely ready and the time and place are perfect!
- Clarity – You’re willing to commit to them without concerns. You know that you are in love. There are no ambiguities. There are no questions.
- Power – You’re filled with an unfamiliar and seemingly endless power and courage that makes you feel like you can accomplish anything! (Castles, countries, and companies were built using this power.)
I would trade 100 hot affairs for one relationship with a person who I am in love with and who is in love with me. There is no comparison. I know, as I have done both. That’s not to say that playing the field is not fun and exciting. It is just not nearly as fulfilling in any way you can imagine.
Is it possible to find true love with several people in your life? I believe it is. But to experience true love, you’ve got to be vigilant about not being sucked into false love. The good news is that most people get better at both as they mature and age. But not everyone. Especially those who haven’t had many romantic relationships and the newly separated, divorced, or widowed.
Seek to be in love and love will find you!