I love you’ – three such simple words, yet they carry so much weight – or do they?
Recently, I have taken to ending conversations with some of my friends with these words. What has been interesting, is the reaction – some mumble, some pretend that they did not hear whilst others respond that they love me too. What exactly is this love that we speak of and why do we say it?
When I tell someone that I love them, it is an affirmation that their presence in my life makes a difference, adds value and brings out something in me that makes me value myself and my life. If it is true that the people in our lives mirror us, then I know that, looking at some of my friends, I must be doing something right.
There are times in every person’s life when they feel tired, uninspired, not particularly beautiful and emotionally drained. It is the people who are around us at these times who are able to hold us, create a safe space for us to simply be – without requirements as to how we should be, who help us to value who we are, to make sense of the lessons in each situation and to give us the courage to take the next step to healing and or sanity.
Why is it then that we find it so difficult to hear and accept these words of affirmation and evaluation? Could it be that we have become so conditioned to believing that we are not worthy of love, of appreciation and of affection, that we cannot conceive of another expressing love to us? Could it be that we are so afraid that someone who says they love us, want something in return?
If the truth be told, we would agree that the majority of people view love as a conditional state of being – expecting to be loved only if we make other people feel better, if we do the ‘right’ things for them or adversely, wonder what is being expected in return for this show of love or affection.
My beloved friend, if I tell you that I love you, know that it comes from me, from my heart, not for what you do or do not do for me, but for what you are – quite simply as you are. Who you are touches my being, uplifts my spirit and touches my life – no strings attached. I do not require of you to be or do anything, except maybe to accept that you are worthy of my love for you. You need not respond, but if you do, a simple ‘thank you’ will do fine – unless you have found in your heart what you mean when you say the words ‘I love you’.
Recently, after my mother-in-law passed away, a friend of hers sent me a message of condolence, stating that my mother-in-law loved me so much. I stood looking at the message, thinking how we never consciously express what we feel. Sure, she often said that they loved us when we concluded a telephonic conversation, just as my own mother does, but do we truly tell another, one on one, what they mean to us and that they have made a difference to our lives. It comes back to the old concept of funerals being for catching up on that which we never said when the person was alive.
So many of us utter words without thinking of them, simply filling the quiet spaces which should be safe havens for our souls, because we are so afraid of what words of appreciation may conjure up for us. I choose, consciously, to tell the people in my life that I love them, but when I do I know exactly what those words convey. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, the words will break open their hearts and seep into that silent space from where we should love ourselves, and inspire them to love themselves enough to live their purpose by living their joy – and loving both it and themselves for it. It is my choice, every time I utter these words, to express my love and appreciation – not unconsciously, but consciously, to those people in my life whom I value. Saying ‘I love you’ is a salute from my heart to yours, an honoring of who you are and a gentle expression of my gratitude for your presence in my life.
I love you…