I love you.
It’s true. Though I may not have met you or connected with you, in a universal sense, I love you.
I love you because you are part of the intricate web that makes up the Universe.
Just thinking and writing those words makes me smile. I feel a sense of calm and joy – the power of those words.
Actions speak louder than words but words have their own special power and lasting effect. And ‘I love you’ are possibly the three most important words in the English language.
When you speak those words, with sincerity, you feel a great sense of freedom and you can actually feel love bubbling up inside of you.
Studies have shown saying the words can be good for your health.
When you hear an authentic “I love you”, you feel comfort and calm. Inside those three little words lies a treasure trove of information that reveals your importance to another.
SOME PEOPLE CAN’T SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’
Yet, so many people have difficulty saying the phrase.
Sometimes this is caused by fear that they will sound foolish or be rejected. Maybe they have had a bad experience with the phrase that has left them heartbroken.
For some, it has more to do with not having been taught how to express their feelings openly.
For others, it is simply because they don’t feel that way.
True, saying those words can make you vulnerable, but it can also make you powerful.
If you say the phrase because you actually mean it, not because you want to hear the words echoed back, you feel the love almost as if you were giving it to yourself.
Those words are not just reserved for romance. They recognise beautiful friendships, describe the glue that bonds families and are often used almost as a mantra for parents.
I was lucky to have parents who used “I love you” repeatedly.
My mother, in particular, never let a day go by without reminding me of my importance to her with those words.
To this day, all of our meetups start and finish with the words “I love you”. All of our phone conversations end with the phrase.
It’s no surprise then that, once we got past the initial fear of uttering those words to each other during the early stages of our romance, Hubby and I adopted the same tradition.
Our greetings begin with the words and phone conversations end with them.
It happened without us even realising it.
THE REWARD OF SAYING ‘I LOVE YOU’
Then Hubby started to end his phone conversations with his mother the same way. With those magic words.
Before she realised it, she was joining in and ending conversations with her loved ones using that affirmation.
One day a few years ago my mother-in-law rang Hubby to tell him ‘thank you’. She said that his use of the phrase to end conversations with her had prompted her to do the same with others she cared about. This was not her habit previously. What it meant was that the very last words she spoke to her sister before she died were, “I love you”. Something my mother-in-law will always be grateful for.
We tend to assume the people we care about will know we love them by the way we treat them. This is not always true and people need to hear the words, which should then be backed up by action.
This is especially true for children. The words help them understand they are important and valued.
Even though all our actions as parents may be demonstrating those words, every minute of every day, the words themselves have power. They tell the child that, even when they have behaved badly, they will not be abandoned and rejected. That they are an important part of our lives.
Saying the words to children also gives the example of expressing feelings, which will help them in relationships later in life.
WHEN THE WORDS ARE SAID TOO OFTEN
Can you overuse the phrase?
If the words are heartfelt when they said, then the simple answer is no.
If they are said as a formality or, worse, as a manipulation, then they are mean and hurtful and better left unsaid.
Saying the words ignites a gift of joy for the speaker and the receiver when they are true. When uttered without sincerity, they have the power to destroy lives.
I LOVE YOU – THE ULTIMATE SHORTHAND FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD
I think the phrase “I love you” is a little like shorthand for so many other things you want to say.
Consider the good friend who has patiently listened to your tale of woe, offered their shoulder, mopped your tears and gave a comforting hug. You could speak for ages about your gratitude for the friendship. How it comforts you and lifts you up. How you could not imagine life without sharing smiles, tears, joys and fears with them. Or you could simply say, “Thank you. I love you”.
Sometimes it’s nice to say it all – the shorthand “I love you” with the longhand that tells them all the reasons why.
There are friends who I love that I don’t share these words with. Almost always, the reason is that I know it will make them feel uncomfortable. It’s a phrase they use only for romance or children.
In the English language ‘love’ has a lot of meanings.
Instead, we speak the words in longhand and write about the treasure of our friendship in greeting cards, kind of skipping around those three magic words.
There are a million ways to say “I love you”, but that one little phrase encompasses them all.
Wishing you many opportunities to say and hear the words, “I love you”. Have a gleeful week, Tamuria.
Reba LinkerFebruary 15, 2018 at 11:55 am
This is such a heartwarming post, Tami. I’m actually just sitting here basking in the glow of reading it, enjoying the love you shared with us, your friends and readers, the stories about your life and family you recounted, and the wisdom you imparted (only say if you mean it!). What a beautiful way to bring Valentine’s Day to a close. Thank you. I love you, too.
tamuriaFebruary 27, 2018 at 10:13 am
Reba, I always feel the love emanating from you. Thank you for your loving words.
Jackie HarderFebruary 16, 2018 at 2:11 am
The first thing I thought of when I started reading this article is that we need to also tell ourselves those same three words. Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life,” outlined how to do mirror work: Look yourself in the eye and say, “I love you.”
I came across the book at one of the lowest points in my life, personally and professionally, and her mirror exercise had a profound effect on my life — because I. Could. Not. Say. It. I couldn’t look myself in the eye and say those three words, because I didn’t.
It took at least three months of repeating those three words every time I caught a glimpse of myself before I believed it. Felt it in my heart. And you have to love yourself before you can truly love others.
tamuriaFebruary 27, 2018 at 10:16 am
Jackie, you are so right. It has to start from inside us. My mother always said what you said – you have to love yourself first before you can truly love others. It took me such a long time to fully understand this. I too went through a period when I couldn’t say those words to myself. It can take time and determination to get there.
Tandy R ElisalaFebruary 20, 2018 at 11:59 am
I really LOVE this article. The topic of saying “I love you” is timely for self-love month and Valentine’s Day. It’s also important every day. As you mentioned, Tamuria, feeling and expressing love is good for our health. My family discussed this very topic the other day. My parents were not very expressive. They rarely said they loved me. I knew they did love me, it just wasn’t verbalized. This was a defining series of moments for me growing up. I told myself that when I had kids, I would let them know I loved them every single day. Not a day has gone by since I had my kids that I haven’t told them I loved them. We always say “I love you” to each other when we leave get-togethers or end a phone conversation. My kids were saying that their friends thought it was odd that they said “I love you” everytime we were on the phone. Some of their friends said it was inspiring and helped them to start this tradition with their own families.
When we were family caregivers taking care of my parents for 2 1/2 years, we extended our I love you’s to them every single day. Eventually, they started saying it back. The day before my mom died, my daughter Sarah and I visited her in the hospital. Our last exchange went like this:
Me: I love you, mom.
Sarah: I love you, Grandma.
Mom: I love you both.
Me: I love you more.
Mom: Nope. I love you more. *Smiling*
I am FOREVER grateful that THESE were our last words while she was lucid. It gives me great peace knowing that we verbally expressed our love for one another.
Saying “I love you” and meaning it is something I take seriously in all my relationships. Thank you for this beautiful article and for sharing your LOVE. I love you back!
tamuriaFebruary 27, 2018 at 10:18 am
Such a beautiful family story about the importance and power of those words, Tandy. That simple phrase can live on in our hearts, even after we’ve lost the person we shared them with.
Teresa SalhiFebruary 20, 2018 at 12:21 pm
Love has a vibrational energy of over 500 megahertz. To put that in perspective, sadness is below 200. The higher the energy the more ‘vibrational’ of the same comes back to us. It’s like a magnet. Words create feelings and feelings are energy. Yes, oh yes, let’s spread it everywhere we go. Such a lovely post. I loved it and I love you!
tamuriaFebruary 27, 2018 at 10:20 am
So true about how energy attracts like energy, Teresa, and also about the power of words. Thank you for your lovely words. Yes, let’s spread love everywhere.