Let’s be clear about something. Saying I Love You is not the same as ‘I heart you’ or ‘ILU’ or any other abbreviations. I mean going full throttle and saying out loud those simple words stringed together to make a garland of the one of the biggest truths of life — Love. Because.
Parent and child
When you love someone, show it, sure, but do not shy from saying those words out loud. Those words have the power to change hearts, turn a frown into a smile, make them forget past grievances. My 7 year old is at a stage when he expresses himself openly. Every time he says “I love you”, my heart melts. I can feel it trickling into a soft mush down to my toes. I make sure I tell him how much I love him every chance I get. I want to make sure he knows he is loved.
My mother expresses her love not through words but through actions. Her variety of love is to set her children free and the children always return. My father loves us through food. He loves feeding us. Sometimes, the surfeit of edibles is a bit much but then again, how can one deny the love that goes into all those meals? I want to tell my parents I love them but I don’t know how. They are of a generation that deem it unnecessary to talk about taken-for-granted feelings. Perhaps it is never too late to start?
This is a tricky one. I know it sounds pretty simple but sometimes it is not. I have seen couples bickering and telling each other unthinkable things. But then in a jiffy everything is forgotten and all is well with the world. What else is it if not love? Then why can’t we say those words out loud?
I had read somewhere about the author telling his wife that he loves her every single day of their married life. They were married for 35 years. So that is approximately 12,775 “I Love Yous” said in a lifetime of togetherness. Cynics will roll their eyes, I am sure. They will say this is an over-compensation but when you think about it, it really is not. When your heart is filled to the brim with love, some of it tends to spill over. I think it is aspirational, honestly. Especially on days when you don’t feel the love.
There are times when you are riddled with self-doubt about your job, your family, your role as a parent. When a friend extends their hand and says “I love you”, it can make a world of difference. Sometimes, just a phone call or a message communicates to them that they are being thought of. Those words, and I reiterate, can be the light at the end of the tunnel; like a distant call of a familiar voice when you are groping your way in a fog. Tell your friend you love them. Take out the time to drop a ‘hello’ or better still, catch up over the beverage of choice. Keep your friends close.
I don’t know anyone in real life who has “enemies” but we are certainly surrounded by people who have refused our love. There are those moments when we have wished ill of the cantankerous boss or the passive aggressive in-law. But there are also moments when a one-line email from the said boss appreciating your work has made you smile. It takes a bigger person to reach out and tell them that despite their unjust treatment of you, they are loved. It is up to you to figure out their love language, but do try.
We all remember that first crush. The warm fuzzy feeling in the region of the heart, the quickening of the pulse, the weakening of the knees, and all that. When you feel deep emotions about someone, they have the right to know. They might not return your love and that is perfectly fine. Whoever said that everyone and everything we love will return the feelings? But don’t let your life go by without telling them that they were loved. It might not change anything but then you will not die with the secret in your heart and the regret of ‘if only’.
Say “I Love You” as many times a day as you wish and to as many people as you want. No matter how minuscule the outcome, I promise it will make your day better. One word of caution though. Don’t say it with the expectation of hearing “I Love You, too” in return. Well, at least, not every time.