By Dr. Dina Evan

Let’s face it, people banter the word love around everything from chocolate ice cream to flannel pajamas. So how are we to know when love is real? Love is less about a feeling and more about action. For instance, if I really love myself, would I trick or lie to myself? Probably not, because that seems counter intuitive to what real love does. And if I am feeling genuine love for you, I couldn’t do that to you either. I couldn’t take advantage of your weakness or flaws any more than I could take advantage of mine.

You can’t plan to be in love, because love is not cunning or strategic. Love simply becomes who you are. You can’t fall in love to get love — but you can fall in love to give it. If you fall in love to get love, the other person becomes an object for filling your needs and is not your beloved.


When real love arrives, there are no more questions, no greener grass and no better options 

It’s no longer about what you say, it’s about who you are and how you prove it — to yourself and your beloved. Love is about your integrity. Real love knows that even having an emotional affair is more traitorous than having a physical one because it involves the heart and spirit. It’s the exchange of stolen words and feelings rightfully belonging to another. Affairs of any kind involve cheating on ones own integrity and going back on ones own spirit. Real love does not subside. It is forever — beyond just falling in love. It deepens, moving gently beyond body parts into the private parts in the heart that are closer to one’s character and purpose.

If you are able to love with a whole soul, you’ve done what you came here to do. Love never promises it will be free from difficulties and challenges, it promises we will stay up all night to solve them together. It would rather be face to face with you than on a cell phone, I-pad or Facebook.

Love is more about who you are than who you love. Love comes to us as the teacher to reveal the truth of who we really are. It’s the only way to discover our level of patience, truthfulness and addiction to sameness.

Real love reaches from here to heaven. I believe, so long as you speak a persons name with love they are still alive within you. Love is oblivious to distance or time, it simply is forever. Even when love changes form it continues to exist. From friends to lovers, from husband and wife to co-parents, from partner to spouse from parent to child, love, real love, changes form but never loses strength or commitment.


Love is a choice

You can choose love as a gift to your life. You can choose it with your beloved, or the homeless person on the street. You can choose it with the wounded warrior or a screaming child. One of the most import gifts love brings is the realization we are all of these and there is no separation between us.

Love is without judgment or separation. Love can be felt in music composed from the heart, words written from the heart and genuine vulnerability shared from the heart. Love can be felt in truth, honesty and genuine caring. It is in all things… real. Some think true love is rare but it is only rare because we have forgotten to be it.


“Don’t wait to be perfect to choose love. If you wait you will never choose love because no one is perfect.” 


When you look around it’s obvious we make up many reasons to avoid love. However, once you choose to be it, you discover it is simply the only reason for being here. So, have a chocolate, send a Valentine, then put your feet up and decide that you want all that love offers and become it. We heart you (yes, that was flaky) and we are grateful you give us a reason for being … and that is real. Happy Valentines Day.


Dr. Evan is a marriage, family, child therapist and consciousness counselor.    602-571-8228.